Surplus fund of $179,000 explained

Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures 10 kilowatt Solar PV system in Morrin Alberta at the water plant installed by Goose Creek Renewable Energy.
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Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner explained at the Feb. 20 regular Morrin village meeting, when asked by Rick Lindgreen regarding the ‘approximate $179,000 in relation to a retiring allowance’ that it was not labelled ‘retirement fund’, it was in fact, leftover government money from an infrastructure project and now sits in ‘unrestricted surplus’.

“It’s in an account and it’s unrestricted but it is in a reserved account and it’s been there for 29 years,” said Plachner.

She added, “The village uses government grants for infrastructure and the taxes of the residents are used for general operations. This is a reserve and every municipality should have a reserve because someday there might not be any government grants to fall back on.”

“So this money wasn’t just set aside for your retirement?” asked Lindgreen.

“It’s for whatever,” said CAO Plachner. “It came from a government grant when we got money for the new lagoon and paving and it was just extra money that was set aside from the government in a surplus account.”

Lindgreen concluded, stating, “Too bad that wasn’t put aside to pay for the pavement. It took us 25 years to pay for it through taxes. Some of us weren’t rich enough to pay $3,500. It was $450 for 25 years we paid. That amounts to a lot of money over 25 years,” concluded Lindgreen.

Coun. M’Liss Edwards explained to Lindgreen that she and Mayor Helton had met with the website designer.

“You did?” asked CAO Plachner.

“Yes, we did, Howard and I,” responded Edwards.

“He [the website designer] has to come here and get the information from the office, from the people working in the office, and that hasn’t happened so I will be his contact now and find out what he needs and get it for him,” said Edwards.

The designer had informed Mayor Helton he was quitting but Helton and Edwards had met with him and agreed Edwards would be the liaison to get the website up and working.

Wes Kashuba of Kashuba Heating & Air Conditioning attended as a delegation concerning complaints the village had received by residents on deliveries to his residence that is not located on a truck route.

Kashuba explained that the law requires all delivery vehicles, no matter what weight, are to make their deliveries and return the closest possible way back to the truck route.

Kashuba explained the delivery driver was doing that by using 1st Street S. as it was the shortest route back to the truck route.

Council asked that the delivery driver use 2nd St. S. going by the arena and school as that is the route used mostly by truckers hauling water.

Mayor Helton noted that “weight restrictions, frequency of travel, that would be my concern, then, of course, we have to consider yourself trying to maintain a service, having product delivered to service the community, that’s an important issue too.

“We have to consider the residences obviously,” commented Helton.

“I get that,” said Kashuba, “but at the same time, if someone is biased against me it’s easy for them to say that truck can’t be going that way.

“Then it falls back to the law,” said Kashuba, “where a truck can come off the truck route and take the most direct route back to the truck route” after he makes his deliveries.

“We’re glad to have you here,” said Coun. Edwards, referring to his plumbing business.

Public Works

Mayor Helton presented to council the work he did on developing a guideline for a Water Break Procedure to alleviate length services such as water and sewer are out.

CAO Plachner will now to work from that guideline adding the necessary information and present it back to Council at the March meeting as a resolution.

Council approved the public works request to replace the tires on the garbage truck at a cost of $1,167 plus tax.

Water Plant Upgrading

The Morrin Water Plant upgrading was tabled again as Council has not yet received an official plan outlining the work and expenses required for the upgrade and a ‘Request for Decision’ for the amount the village would be required to pay.

Council so far has only received a rough draft listing eight items but no formal signed plan.

“We should have something that says we venture into this agreement with Starland County and it would give us the split as to who is paying what,” said Mayor Helton.

“By this [rough draft] being presented to council, this doesn’t clarify or state anything like that, it doesn’t say 50 – 50, it doesn’t say whose entered into an agreement. That’s the sort of paper we need in order to approve it,” concluded Mayor Helton.

“It’s kind of hard to make a decision on something as nebulous as that,” agreed Coun. Edwards.

Green space

Mayor Helton provided site plans and aerial maps showing village-owned property with the idea of moving the recycle containers off Main Street and putting that area into green space.

Mayor Helton opened the meeting to several residents who were in attendance for suggestions.

A piece of property in the south-east corner, 98 ft. x 124 ft. was considered by those present to be a possible relocation site with proper fencing.

“Use that little piece down at the end [of the street] for public works storage too but regulate the use of it as regards to what materials you would put there and develop it aesthetically,” said Mayor Helton.

Infrastructure project

Morrin village received MSI funding of $315,274 which they applied towards upgrades to 2nd Avenue South however Mayor Helton noted the project may change to Railway Avenue.

Council made a motion to put a camera through the Railway Avenue sewer line as CAO Plachner said the possibility of putting a sleeve in the line may avoid total replacement and cut costs in half.

Fire Department issues

Councillor representative on the Fire Department, M’Liss Edwards met with the fire chief and training officer and brought forward to Council “several issues, some of which compromise the safety of our volunteer firefighters,” she wrote in her written report.

The self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) used to enter a burning structure is out of date and no longer safe or pass alarms that signal when a firefighter stops moving are unusable.

“If equipment does not meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and is decommissioned, the community runs the risk of losing the fire department and then everyone’s insurance rates will skyrocket,” concluded Edward’s report.

The fire department is asking for the monies that are paid to the municipality for fires, medical calls and motor vehicle crashes be paid directly to the fire department so they could manage the funds themselves.

“I’ve surveyed a couple of other departments, I’ve talked to other people. Those payments are used directly for the fire department and as far as I can tell, that hasn’t always happened here,” said Edwards.

Council asked CAO Plachner to facilitate a meeting between Starland, the village and the fire chief to clarify the equipment that the village is responsible for and bring it back to the next meeting.

According to the information presented to Coun. Edwards, capital expenses for fire services is split with Starland County and the village 70 – 30 respectively.

Consumable expenses including hoses, turnout gear, SCBA equipment and pass alarms, according to the report, are the responsibility of the village.

According to CAO Plachner, all the items listed are part of the 70 – 30 agreement with the county.

“That’s not right,” said Edwards.

“We need to get together and get this clarified,” concluded Helton.


Mayor Helton provided corrections to the minutes which included missing motions, requested recorded votes missing and amendments to the Dec. 19, 2018 minutes not recorded in the Jan. 16 minutes.

“Minutes reflect only Part F,” said Mayor Helton. “The entire section, A to G was the motion but I see in the minutes the only part recorded was F” and the vote recorded unanimous. “Starland County meeting was never a motion and shouldn’t have been recorded in the minutes and the reason for a councillor abstaining from a vote must be recorded in the minutes.

Correspondence signed by Vella was not on the Jan. 16, 2019 agenda and therefore was not tabled at the meeting, therefore, there should be no reference to it in the minutes.

“It laid on the table but we never actually discussed because it wasn’t on the agenda,” said Helton.

Council made a motion to have all these corrections recorded in the Feb. 20 meeting minutes.



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