“Like so many other things , they [services] start with the municipal governments, then it goes regional, then it goes provincial, and we [local governments] all get lost in the scuffle”, opined Coun. Ray Reckseidler, at the Delburne village meeting on Dec. 13, 2022 when discussing the loss of local Victim Services.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Karen Faulk has been active with the Three Hills Victim Services for a long time and is very concerned about the new regional service.
The Three Hills Victim Services was community volunteers and local RCMP officers working together to provide victims of crime and tragedy with support, information and appropriate referrals.
Victim Services was supported through local fundraising. When making this move, the provincial government took $73M of community-raised funds and moved it into the provincial pot to use in restructuring Victim Services.
The province will now be divided up into four regions overseen by four bureaucrats. Volunteers will still be utilized, but local understanding, familiarity with volunteers and control will be lost
“In my humble opinion, the part that bothers me the most”, said Fegan, “is how they say that the victims aren’t going to be affected by these changes.”
The new model effectively leaves behind 60 per cent of their caseload—those victims of tragedies such as motor vehicle accidents, farm accidents, suicides. The new service only targets crime victims.
Budget and more
The 2023 budget was unanimously approved with a small increase of $32,758 from 2022. The increases primarily are insurance and utility costs and the policing fund requisition.
The provincial policing requisitions has increased 39 per cent or $15,000 from 2022 and now cost local ratepayers $48,464 per year.
After discussion, it was agreed it would not be wise to pay down the fibre optic debt as the current interest rate is only 0.86 per cent.
Letters have been sent to the six property owners whose lands were annexed by Delburne in 2008. These properties were paying Red Deer County tax rates to the village since that time, but after 15 years, the owners of the land must now pay Village of Delburne tax rates.
In 2023, these property owners will see an approximate tax increase of $1,000 per year.
A request was made for council to set a rate for those only wanting to use the community hall kitchen. A motion was unanimously accepted to charge $95.
A letter was received from Red Deer River Watershed Alliance asking whether Delburne, who is on well water, would like to join as a vital partner in the land and watershed basin of the Red Deer River. The membership fee would be approximately $1,840 per year.
Council decided that although valuable, with municipal revenues so tight and unsure, they must decline this invitation.
Public works projects
A motion was unanimously approved to contract Buck Tree Services to remove 13 large poplar trees at Main Street Park at a cost of $11,000.
These trees, planted in the 1940s, have started to rot in the center and are becoming a huge safety issue. All the trees will be replaced.
Public Works foreman, Gary Rusaw, said that the washroom situation at the ball diamonds needs to be resolved.
Discussion seemed to favour something similar to the washrooms at Main Street Park. This will be discussed further.
A situation recently occurred where the village ran out of diesel at the same time as Esso, leaving equipment inoperable.
To avoid a similar situation in the future, council gave Rusaw permission to spend $1,000 to $1,500 of his budget to purchase a slip tank at auction and a new pump to mount on the old half-ton truck as our emergency diesel backup.
Major Tim Wilson and other council members expressed grave concerns about the safety surrounding the Snowflake Parade.
“We need a parade marshal, barricades on the parade route and have to stop throwing candy from the floats”, said Wilson.
In January, council will look at making a by-law that candy can’t be thrown from floats, which would not preclude candies being handed out on the sidelines.
Council will look at ways to bring together all community organizations more regularly in the new year to create more synergy and support amongst the many volunteer organizations making Delburne a better community.
A copy of a letter from the Mayor of Ponoka to the Minister of Health, Hon. Jason Copping, was received and discussed.
Ponoka Mayor Kevin Ferguson was addressing his concern that in the last year his volunteer fire department was the first to arrive on the scene of a medical event 18 times.
In one case a pedestrian had been struck and after an hour waiting for an ambulance, and the victim’s vitals crashing, the victim was transported to the local hospital in the box of a RCMP pickup.
In another case, volunteer firefighters had to deal with a person who had their ear shot off because an ambulance being dispatched was 45 minutes away.
Councillor Jeff Bourne said, “Unfortunately every community has stories like these.”
Council accepted the letter as information.