The Town of Bashaw set the date for its tax recovery sale during the regular meeting of council Aug. 20.
The meeting was held at the community centre to meet pandemic guidelines.
Town Chief Administrative Officer Theresa Fuller provided councillors with a report on the 2020 tax recovery sale.
She noted when taxes on a property remain unpaid for a certain amount of time, a process within the Municipal Government Act can be followed for the town to recover the funds.
She stated the Town of Bashaw has one property in this situation, and according to the MGA the property owner has right up to the time of the auction to settle accounts and Fuller noted this is typically what happens.
The property is auctioned to the public and if it doesn’t sell the town has the option of taking ownership.
If the property is sold, the unpaid taxes are taken out of the funds and anything over and above the debt is paid to the original owner.
Councillors agreed to hold the tax recovery sale.
Fuller provided councillors with a memo regarding the Municipal Stimulus Program, noting the town is eligible for just over $98,000.
Fuller stated the town has to apply before October 1 and includes the provincial government’s requirement to show how the town has reduced “red tape” for business.
Councillors were provided with a list of capital projects for them to ponder, including the lagoon and the Happy Gang building roof.
During discussion, councillors mentioned the arena roof would fit the bill nicely with curling rink work also being mentioned.
Councillors approved a motion for Fuller to proceed with applying for the stimulus program.
Federal gas tax
Councillors discussed another funding program, this time the Federal Gas Tax program.
Fuller provided them with a memo stating the town was eligible for a $50,000 grant. It was noted the funds can be rolled forward into the next year.
Councillors discussed the lagoon project which has been on project lists since 2015. T
hey instructed Fuller to look into whether the lagoon project would qualify for this program and if the town could roll the funds into 2021 for it.
Councillors approved some changes to the Arena Use Agreement and Arena and Recreation Facility Policy. A s councillors discussed the changes, it was mentioned that the policies would clearly state that some requirements were being introduced for users to clean up after themselves.
As councillors discussed the arena policy changes, Fuller noted that Bashaw was planning on putting ice into the arena this winter. Some municipalities have baulked at putting ice in during the pandemic.
As councillors discussed social distancing requirements, Fuller stated public skating, for example, usually attracts about half a dozen skaters, and with the entire ice surface, it shouldn’t be difficult to ensure safe distances between users.
It was noted that somewhat more people show up for shinny hockey.
Councillors approved the recommended changes to the two policies.
While councillors discussed Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) meetings, the topic of the provincial government’s assessment review for oil and gas industry taxes came up.
Fuller noted that the AUMA has voiced concern over proposed changes to the way oil and gas properties are taxed by rural municipalities, as negative changes that affect surrounding counties could have negative effects in town too, including programs like FCSS and recreation.
She noted assessment-based programs like policing could also be negatively affected.
Fuller noted during regular reports she heard the Majestic Theatre was looking at opening.
It was also noted that many non-profit groups lost substantial revenue this year because they couldn’t volunteer at casinos in the city.
Theft of fuel
Foreman Murray Holroyd noted the Public Works department noticed someone had recently broken a lock off a grader and stole fuel out of the vehicle.
As he reported other information from his department, Holroyd stated the heavy rain beat up the hanging flower baskets fairly badly, but that the flowers appeared to be making a comeback.
Holroyd also stated staff were thinking about requiring masks in the arena, which would address requirements about social distancing.
During Holroyd’s report Fuller also noted she’s been asked if the town is going to pass a mandatory mask bylaw and she noted that doesn’t appear to be necessary at this point.
Coun. Rosella Peterman noted Camrose County has no active COVID-19 cases right now. Mayor Penny Shantz stated council was not considering a mask bylaw at this time.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter