Public Works Foreman Jimmy Mabley informed council of the presence of Dutch Elm Disease within the village at Youngstown council meeting on Tues. March 1.
Tests were taken last season and then taken in for testing as a measure to monitor if there is a presence in the community.
Beatles have been found since then, mainly at the campground.
Mabley also noted he had seen some branches of elms dying since November.
Now that they know for sure, a government agency will come in to take down the trees that are infected and burn them.
According to the Government of Alberta website, ‘Dutch elm disease – (referred to as DED) is a costly and deadly disease that affects all species of elm trees in Alberta.
It is caused by a fungus that clogs the elm tree’s water conducting system, causing the tree to die. The fungus is primarily spread from one elm tree to another by three beetle species.’
‘The beetles are attracted to weak and dying trees which serve as breeding sites. Once the beetles have pupated and turned into adults, they leave the brood gallery and fly to healthy elms to feed, transporting the fungus on their bodies from one tree to the next.’
Under the Agricultural Pests Act, DED is considered a pest and must be taken care of by the municipality to control and prevent the spread.
The government is changing the name for Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding by calling it Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF) which will come into effect in 2024.
In the meantime, it has been decided to have the current MSI program for two more years at a lesser amount than what was originally given.
For Youngstown, they will be seeing a drastic decrease from former years.
MSI Capital has dropped from $142,880 to $57,940 whereas MSI Operating has dropped to $29,714.
Administration shared they knew this stark adjustment in funding was coming so they have prepared by saving MSI capital funding from previous years into the current budget so there is no fear just yet in terms of adjusting to this change in funding.
“It’s just about two-thirds gone. We just have to be smart,” said Coun. Ken Johnson.
The federal gas tax fund, now called the Canada Community Building Fund is staying at $50,000 for the village.
The latest census results conducted in 2021 were received by the village.
Youngstown saw an increase of 17 people moving to the east central village between 2016 and 2021.
In 2016, there were 154 people accounted for but in five years since then, it has risen to 171 people.
A couple of complaints have been received by administration and public works about dogs running loose in the village with bylaws not being enforced.
The village removed dog and cat licensing a number of years ago but now a couple of repeat offenders have been roaming the community and have been known to be aggressive when encountering people which can become a safety concern quickly.
Council agreed to have administration put out a notice to try to get people to keep their dogs on a leash and must tend to their animals.
As per the Municipal Accountability Program Review, Youngstown has been urged to create some bylaws.
At the latest meeting, council passed two motions, one to designate Public Works Foreman Jimmy Mabley as a bylaw enforcement officer and another to appoint him as development officer.
Hanna recently decided to hire Special Areas as their bylaw enforcement which had councillors wonder if they should set up the same agreement.
Council agreed to have administration investigate this option further.
A third motion was made and passed to hire Terry Willoughby of Municipal Property Consultants as the assessor for the village.