Morrin village council were shocked to hear that the recently announced provincial budget will result in the municipality losing $94,000 in grant funding. The report was made at the Mar. 16 regular meeting of council.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner gave her regular report to council, which included some stark information about the recent Alberta government budget announcement.
Plachner noted, due to changes in grant programs and assessment Morrin will receive $64,000 in capital grant funding, and lose $94,000.
Mayor Chris Hall seemed alarmed. “So how are we supposed to function without that money,?” he asked his peers.
Plachner gave a brief update on how the funding cut would affect a major infrastructure project the village was budgeting for this summer including roadwork on 2nd Ave. south, the same neighbourhood the new school is proposed.
Plachner stated the village budgeted $800,000 but inflation has already pushed the project cost to $1 million and possibly higher.
Coun. Lorraine MacArthur asked what would happen if the village can’t afford to do the project, and Plachner answered the new school would have to hook into the old water system.
Councillors accepted Plachner’s report as information.
While discussing the upcoming tax recovery sale Plachner asked councillors if they wanted to place the old gas station property on the list. She pointed out it continues to build up an unpaid tax bill but it also has a contamination issue which could end up the village’s responsibility if the property doesn’t sell.
Plachner noted there are no provincial grants available to pay for cleaning up the site.
Councillors asked if the site is still contaminated and Plachner responded a recent test confirmed the contamination is still there.
Councillors decided the gas station property wouldn’t be part of the current tax recovery sale.
Councillors unanimously approved all readings to bring the new tax exemption bylaw into effect.
Morrin tax incentive is for municipal tax only on new developments: 50 per cent rebate first year, 50 per cent rebate second year, 25 per cent rebate third year. After third year, taxes billed as normal.
Councillors at a previous meeting noted they wanted a bylaw to encourage new businesses to open in Morrin.
Coun. M’Liss Edwards brought forward a Railway Ave. resident complaint that parking lot lights at Starland County’s office are shining in their home at night. Edwards stated she agreed with the complainant and stated street lights should be shining down, not up.
Mayor Hall felt that the county wouldn’t alter their lights for such a complaint. The CAO stated there are security cameras in the county parking lot that work with those lights.
Councillors agreed Edwards would contact the county to see if the lights can be altered.
Edwards also brought forth a resident complaint about speeding on Railway Ave., along with some motorists not obeying the stop sign at the end of Main Street.
Councillors agreed the complaints would be forwarded to the bylaw officer.
Public Works Foreman Dave Benci gave his regular report to council, beginning with a report on the new emergency water pump. He noted the pump was successfully pressure tested and, with a goal of 72 litres per second, actually hit 86 litres per second.
The foreman reported the nearby community of Delia, which Morrin was helping out with water testing, now has a fully certified employee. Morrin will no longer have to travel there to help out.
Morrin’s water plant testers and analyzers have been re-certified.
Benci stated he’s looking into an agreement with surrounding communities on water testing. As some communities only have one person certified to test, Benci noted it would be nice to have some back-up in case of an illness or other issue.
He also noted there was some interest in the old electric control panel and emergency water pump which the village was hoping to sell to recover some funds.
However, the village never heard back from the person. Benci stated he’s going to list the items for sale online.
Councillors accepted Benci’s report for information.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter