With a total of four residents present, it was a stark divide in favour of breaking ground on a new spray park in Hanna and two against it.
At the council meeting on Tue. May 14, Diana Boxma and Barb Burgemeister voiced opposition to the park.
Burgemeister said the Spray Park funding “…shouldn’t come out of the Town budget or our taxes”.
Boxma suggested the Spray Park Committee should find additional grants and asked the Council members to vote no in their decision making.
Those supporting the park included Ken Hansen who stated “Spray parks are something well utilized in this era” while Sammi Jo Lee ended her presentation by stating “Hanna is worth the drive. Ensure it is worth the stay”.
The construction of a spray park in the Town of Hanna has been discussed in the community for close to six years.
Operating costs are estimated at $10,000 per year and would cost the average property in Hanna $5.42/year to operate the spray park. Coun. Campion voiced his concern that this $10,000 estimate seems low.
Five council members including Coun. Deadlock, Stickel, Jensen, Olsen and Mayor Warwick voted to approve the spray park while Coun. Campion and Coun. Beaudoin voted against the motion.
Council responsibility, in approving this proposal by the Hanna Spray Park Committee, entails the Town contributing $100,000 toward the $400,000 capital cost, contributing land sufficient to construct the spray park, and accessory building, and the Town assuming ownership and operation of the Spray Park once constructed.
Balanced budget and decreased tax rate
The vote to accept the 2019 Spring Budget adjustments passed unanimously. CAO Neill, during the discussion on this year’s Spring Budget adjustments, noted that “Administration was directed to increase the residential tax rate by one per cent and decrease the non-residential rate by one per cent which will require a draw from a surplus of $33,664 to balance the budget.”
Total expenditures for the Town of Hanna for 2019 are estimated to be $10,360,816 while total revenues for the same period are estimated to be $10,360,817 which is considered a balanced budget.
Neill continued “with the decrease in residential assessment and an increase in the municipal tax rate, 75 per cent of residential property owners will see a decrease in municipal taxes from their 2018 amount.
“The increase in non-residential assessment and the decrease in the municipal tax rate will provide approximately 40 per cent of non-residential property owners with a decrease in municipal taxes from their 2018 amount,” said CAO Neill.
The Education Tax Requisition and Acadia Foundation requisition were not factored into the percentages he announced.
Infrastructure project concerns
CAO Neill stated MPE Engineering has completed the detailed design portion of the 2019 infrastructure Project based on projects identified by the Town and are ready to go to tender as soon as possible.
Town Administration recommended that the project does not proceed to the tender stage until the province has approved the 2019 MSI (Municipal Sustainability Initiative) Capital Funding, and with the province not expected to release a budget until the fall, MSI funding may not be confirmed until after the construction season has come to a close.
Therefore, Hanna Administration has been reviewing the idea of taking the MSI money allocated to 2018 and 2019 and use it in 2020.
“If there is an earlier confirmation of MSI finding and the time to complete the project satisfactorily prior to winter, administration will get the project tendered immediately,” stated Neill.
Solar Power Project
The Town of Hanna recently received notice that their Letter of Expression was approved for Phase 1 of the Municipal Community Generation Challenge and is now entering Phase 2.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill was surprised by how quickly the province approved the first phase and said they will be providing additional directions for the next phase soon.
100 Women update
Tannis Voltner came to council with 100 Women Who Care Hanna update as one full year has elapsed since they started the international program locally.
She shared the success of raising and then donating $20,900 to four nonprofit organizations in the Hanna Area.
Dryland Emergency Medical Services Association received $5,125, the Royal Canadian Legion Hanna Branch received $5,125 for window replacement, the Hanna S.P.C.A. received $5,225 while the Hanna Curling Club received $5,425 for upgrade renovations.
Film production comes to town Laurie Armstrong, Director of Business and Communications, gave an update on the film production crew which has been very active in the area and on social media.
“Posts on behalf of the film company looking for vehicles and people continue to be popular,” said Armstrong.
A scene for a dance was filmed at the Hanna Legion on May 18.
Armstrong estimated the production team has spent $200,000 in the region for hotels and catering.
While the production crew is really happy with daytime food services, the biggest challenge they face is no restaurants in Hanna are open after 10 p.m. when the company wraps up work for the day.