CAO Kim Neill noted at their regular town council meeting on March 10 that residential assessment has decreased by $4.7 million while nonresidential assessment has increased by $780,000.
Since residential prices had the biggest impact on the decrease in assessment values, to generate the same amount of revenue that the Town had in 2019, there may be an increase in the mill rate.
Administration believes that even though property assessments have decreased taxation values will probably even out with an increased mill rate and residential property owners should end up paying a similar amount as their 2019 taxes.
Generally, assessment figures do not adjust as quickly as the market and with a weak realty market in Hanna, property owners may not be satisfied with their assessed values.
Provincial budget impact on fire training
CAO Neill stated that the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA)’s 2020 Provincial Budget Analysis found there were no significant changes to Alberta government proceeds to the Town of Hanna from what was announced in the October 2019 Budget except that the government has removed the Fire Training Grants, which the Town has been accessing for approximately $15,000 annually on behalf of the region for several years.
Neill has been in conversation with Fire Chief Mohl who notes that the loss of this grant is going to adversely affect the Hanna Volunteer Fire Department financially.
Wild Turkeys causing problems Administration received a letter from an unhappy resident about wild turkeys that are destroying her yard.
Kim Neill said that the town has responded by obtaining a trap from Fish and Wildlife to trap the turkeys and when caught, the plan is to relocate the turkeys.
However, there is concern that the trap being used is too small and a larger trap may be required.
Administration views this wild turkey issue as a “sensitive issue” which is being monitored.
JC Charyk Grad class receives subsidy
Council re-considered and unanimously passed a motion for the use of the Hanna arena for the 2020 JC Charyk School Graduation ceremony on May 22, 2020 as a school event and therefore will not charge a rental fee or manpower costs, as per the Joint Use Agreement between the Town of Hanna and Prairie Land Public School Board.
The motion also confirmed that the family party which is by invitation only, and Safe Grad events in the curling rink and the rental of chairs will be charged out as per 2020 Hanna Approved Rates.
Capital Works projects moving forward
Council passed a motion to accept the bid presented by Rubydale Asphalt Works (2006) Ltd. at a total project cost of $1,413,543.32 with the funds derived from deferred Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), Capital revenue and Federal Gas Tax (FGT) grant revenue.
Neill said that because issues are still unresolved with CanAlta regarding the construction of the gravel road connecting West Industrial Road and Roundhouse Road, this project may not move forward.
Neill also said that MP Engineering (MPE) is doing work on 2nd Ave. between 4th and 5th St. W and this water and sewer related project should go to tender early April.
Coun. Larry Stickel, council representative on the Acadia Foundation, reported that there are eight of the 60 rooms vacant at the Lodge.
Stickel noted that this may imply that the annual financial requisition from Acadia may be higher than previous years.
Stickel believes that one of the reasons for this high vacancy rate may be attributed to the slow realty market in Hanna because seniors who want to move into the Lodge are unable to sell their homes in a timely manner.
Print advertising plan
CAO Neill told council that administration was looking at options to reduce the weekly staff time consumed preparing advertising in print media.
Administration is also looking at options to increase circulation while maintaining the budget.
Administration approached the Hanna Herald with proposed changes and was advised by them changes to advertising which reduce advertising dollars could directly impact the sustainability of the Herald in town with the loss of a job in the community at a time when job retention is important.
To achieve their goal of reducing staff time consumed in preparing advertising and increase circulation Hanna administration asked council to support a motion that recommended the Town of Hanna continue to advertise in the Herald with an easier to use, less graphical template.
In addition, from time to time the Town will take out ads in the Coffee Break and East Central Alberta Review.
Administration will monitor the feedback, findings and expenses from these changes to advertising and report back to council if more changes are required.
Coronavirus preparedness for Hanna
CAO Neill and Director of Protective Services Adrian Mohl said that in a recent video conference with the Provincial Chief Medical Officer and Alberta Health Services (AHS), Hanna administration was advised that the coronavirus impact on Alberta is not going to be short-lived.
AHS believes conquering this virus is a marathon, not a sprint and Alberta is presently at Level 2 and there are 4 Levels.
AHS confirmed that the province is prepared, wants to be ahead of the threat, is consulting with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) and all necessary services associated with AHS are fully functional.