After all amendments were approved, council unanimously passed the 2018 operating budget at their May 24 regular meeting.
One expense amendment was due to staff changes in the office.
The new part time administrative assistant will work three days per week instead of two to allow for a one day per week cross over with the Chief Adminstrative Officer (CAO).
A major change on the revenue side included $17,000 for the sale of lots that went through land titles early in 2018.
After approving the budget changes, council went on to pass Bylaw 834 to authorize the rates of taxation with no increase to the municipal mill rate.
The residential and farmland rate sits at 9.7700 and the rate for non-residential commercial is 11.5275.
Estimated municipal expenditures and transfers set out in the budget for 2018 total $692,904.
Municipal revenues and transfers from all sources other than taxation is estimated at $348,054.
An additional $11,801 is being collected for unspecified projects leaving a balance of $356,651 to be raised by general municipal taxation and $77,992 from Alberta School, Seniors Foundation and Designated Industrial Property requisitions.
After all the changes to the budget were approved, the village is projecting a surplus of $2,101.
Tiny Home update
Big Valley has been approached by Urban Mews, a leading edge garage home and garden home design and development company from Edmonton, with an offer to enter into a partnership for promotion and house design for the Tiny Home subdivision.
Council is excited to explore the possibilities this partnership could bring to the table and will begin negotiations at no cost to the village.
Big Valley will be entering into negotiations with Netago, the Internet services provider from Hanna, to install fibre optic cable in the village.
The need to free up wireless resources on Netago towers continues to grow as internet usage increases.
Currently Netago utilizes a tower owned by the Village of Big Valley with a reciprocal agreement for the provision internet services.
Blue Church hill
Parkland Geotechnical Consulting Ltd. (Parkland GEO) has been contracted to do a geotechnical slope study on St. Edmund’s Anglican Church hill at a cost of $9,700.
The purpose of this study is to provide an assessment of the site soils condition and slope stability before needed repairs can be made to the church foundation.
There have been cracks in the ground at the top of the hill for several years now and the stability and safety of the hill is in question.
CAO Michelle White stated, “We want to know the health of the hill from the crest to the toe.”
Originally constructed in 1916, St. Edmund’s Church sits on top of the hill overlooking Main Street.
Even while under construction, St. Edmund’s was recognized as a landmark.
Its prominent site on the crest of the valley sets the church apart and creates a special place in the community.
Though the hill is mainly village property, the Big Valley Historical Society owns the church, taking over restoration and maintenance in the late seventies and gaining title in 1987.
A major tourist attraction of the village, St. Edmund’s is registered with the province of Alberta as a provincial heritage site.
When the church was built the hill was a solid ridge.
While Main Street was being extended, the hill was cut to the north of the church so that it would not be so steep.
In the nineties the Historical Society installed new pony walls and supports beside the church’s existing foundation.
This support system has been adequate until recently.
In 2008, the roadbed was lowered about three meters before paving it.
The hillside was further disturbed when toe of the slope between the road and the church was cut back in 2010 to allow for a sidewalk and small retaining wall.
Now the north pony wall is leaning and not supporting the church.
A complete assessment of the church was done in 2016.
Contractors recommended by the Alberta Government say the hill is unstable and it is too dangerous to work underneath the church.
It has been recommended that the church be moved or the hill stabilized before any foundation repairs can be done.
No one is in favour of moving the church as its prominence as a landmark on the hill would be lost.
Parkland GEO’s final report will provide the results of the slop stability analysis and recommendations related to possible remediation options for the slope.
After a very short public hearing, Bylaw 835 to allow for cannabis definitions in the Land Use Bylaw has been passed.
There were no written or verbal submissions on this ‘definitions only’ amendment during the public hearing.
Big Valley will hold an open house to get public feedback on the topic before moving forward with any further cannabis amending bylaws.