Hanna council has chosen to increase the natural gas franchise fee up from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent after their regular meeting on Tues. Oct. 13.
Franchise fees are intended to compensate the town for direct costs and restrictions on planning and development relating to utility rights of way as well as related inherent risks.
Council had the option to raise this percentage to a maximum of 35 per cent.
Based on the 2021 franchise fee estimate prepared by AltaGas using the existing 15 per cent fee, the town anticipated generating $232,582.61 for that year.
The increase will bring in an estimated additional revenue of $38,763.00 in 2021.
This represents an estimated increase of $21.36 annually to each residential consumer using the average annual residential use of 120 GJs per year.
The natural gas franchise fees are charged by the Town to AltaGas Utilities for the exclusive right to provide natural gas services within the municipality as well as for access to townland to construct, maintain and operate related assets.
Through the fees, the utility provider is charged an appropriate amount for the use of the land and the exclusive rights to deliver those utility services within the Town.
The utility provider then passes these costs to each consumer (not necessarily property owners but natural gas customers) as a separate charge on the natural gas bills, based on their energy demand.
AltaGas collects the revenue and then pays it to the Town.
The latest agreement was signed in 2017 for a term of 10 years but the town has the option to review every year to make adjustments as seen fit.
Helmer Dam study
Council accepted a large document about a recent study of the Helmer Dam for information.
Over the last several years there have been concerns about the viability of Helmer Dam as a recreational fishing area because of less than satisfactory water quality.
In January, Hanna applied for funding through the Alberta Conservation Association to undertake a revitalization of Helmer Dam to improve the water and habitat quality of the reservoir to support a recreational fishing area.
The town was successful with its application and received $10,000 in funding to conduct the first phase of the project which includes a summer and winter fish and fish habitat assessment to determine if the reservoir can support various species such as Rainbow Trout or Yellow Perch throughout the year.
The information collected during this time is intended to allow the town to make recommendations for the improvement and revitalization of Helmer Reservoir for multi-season fishing use.
Field technicians were on site this summer, where they spent two full days conducting both trap and gill netting.
The results are documented within the interim report and note the presence of Lake Chub, Fathead Minnow and Rainbow Trout.
Both lake chub and fathead minnows are smaller, with the trout a larger size (trout netted were 13 – 14 inched in length).
While this is only the interim report for the first phase, the final report on the first phase of study will be completed and available in the spring of 2021.
The work over the winter will include more water testing to determine the quality of the water body to have fish survive the winter.
Core Ag agreement
Two motions were approved for the new Core Ag development.
Palliser Regional Municipal Services (PRMS), acting as the planning authority for the Town of Hanna, received Subdivision Application 11/202 (PRMS No 2020-015) from Tony Overwater acting as the agent on behalf of owner Thomas Arthur Marshall.
The application is to subdivide a portion of the Block 4, Plan 3931 EX (C of T 861 210 998) within the SE . Sec. 09 – Twp. 31 – Rge. 14 W4M.
The purpose of this subdivision is to create a 3.182-acre parcel for a farm service and support business regarding crop production, finance, seed, grain marketing, fertilizer and agronomy.
It is proposed to build a 24×60 ft. engineered building to serve as an office complex and a 50×80 ft. agricultural chemical warehouse.
The existing subdivision was registered in 1945 which created six parcels of land including Block 4 which is 20.82 acres in size.
The new parcel will be located adjacent to the west boundary of Block 4, creating a new north-south line, 200 ft. (60.96 m) to the east, leaving the larger parcel at 17.6 acres.
Council accepted the Cash-in-Lieu for Municipal Reserve Contribution of $4,500 plus tax from Core Ag to address the fifth condition of their application for the property.