At the latest Starland county council meeting on Feb. 23, council was tasked with setting stipulations for a property in Rumsey that was up for sale under the tax recovery sale later that day.
The 1940s era home and land it rests upon (12,500 sq. feet) was assessed at $6,530.
Bound by the Municipal Government Act, council is required to stay close to this fair market value assessment, choosing to set the reserve bid at $7,000.
Council agreed that should someone buy it at the auction set for later that day, the person who buys it must have the property’s exterior yard cleaned up by June 30 with an inspection completed.
Council’s intention for this stipulation was that there was clear pressure to clean up the property rather than ‘picking out the good stuff’ and then leaving it to be resold.
“If they clean the yard up at least it’s not such an eyesore,” said Coun. Mark Landry.
The tax sale was held at 2 p.m. and closed shortly thereafter as no bidders were present to buy the home.
In this situation, the county will now proceed with taking ownership of the property which is expected to lead to remediation measures including demolition and asbestos clean-up depending on what is found at the property.
Council passed a motion to take title of the property.
Tax deadline changed
September 30 has been declared a federal holiday as Truth and Reconciliation Day.
Because banks will be recognizing this holiday and the fact Starland has generally had this date as tax deadline day, the county will be changing the date to reflect the new reality of this time.
Council passed a motion to change the tax deadline date to Sept. 29 with penalties kicking in on October 1.
It was agreed a large awareness campaign was needed to alert residents of this change just in case.
Hamlet Sewer Utility bylaw
Administration has revamped the hamlet sewer bylaw to reflect the current status of this service for the populations of Craigmyle, Rumsey and Michichi.
A charge of $9 per month has been the standard for the past 20 years.
After investigating neighbouring municipalities’ rates, it was discovered there was a charge as low as $5 from Trochu to as high as $22.75 in Stettler with several communities in between this range.
Administration shared that the largest expense to sewer services is the chemical needed.
Council bounced around ideas of doubling the price and several variations of how to introduce the increased charge.
At the end of the conversation it was decided they would charge $13 per month for Craigmyle and Rumsey with review done annually to see about further adjustments.
Michichi will have an annual fee of $50 as this community doesn’t have a list station, only utility expenses.
Council passed all three readings to cement the new bylaw into place.
Starland Seed Cleaning Plant
A letter of proposal was given to the county by the Starland Seed Cleaning Plant committee requesting some adjustments be made to the loan agreement previously set.
The first loan payment of $49,591.14 was approaching on March 15 but there have been some issues which has prompted the group to ask for a delay to September 15 to begin the first payment.
“Currently, the seed plant board is still awaiting the subdivision finalization, which is why Starland County has not issued the first disbursement of funds to the seed plant,” stated chair Alan Hampton in his letter to council.
In essence, the board is being proactive in ensuring these issues are sorted out before any payments go out so as to not jeopardize the project.
Council agreed to have an amendment made and sent to the lawyers first issuing the deferral most likely at the next meeting.
Delia Library information
At council’s last regular meeting, it was asked that the Delia library provide more information on their services after they asked for $2,000 from the county to support their 2022 budget.
A letter was received with their services as part of the new school. In 2021, staff expenses totalled $19,761.43 which includes the library manager, program coordinator and summer student, resources for $832.44 to purchase books, periodicals and audio books amongst other mediums, office supplies cost $1,454.94.
They were able to receive $6,586.44 in donations.
For 2022, the Library is seeking $14,970. This includes a projected staff expense of $21,300, $1,500 in resources to supplement additions to collections with the move to the new school space, administration costs ($800 ink toner and pamphlet holder needed), and an unavoidable one time charge $4,500 for the Supernet connection.
Council asked county administration for what the county pays the other libraries within the county which came to $800.
Council passed a motion to give Delia Library $800 as a one time payment in the 2021 year and a second motion that next year (2022) the county set aside $3,000 to be split between the three libraries equally.