Village of Alix may charge for fire department response

Village of Alix councillors are pondering a new policy that would charge a fee to residents every time the municipal fire department answers a fire service call. 

The topic was discussed at the Oct. 21 regular meeting of council.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White presented councillors with the draft fire department policy that would charge a fee every time the fire department answered a call-out. 

White stated the fee would cover the time and expenses for such call-outs, and currently the village absorbs those expenses.

The CAO stated the fire chief had a chance to examine the proposed policy and sent some feedback to council. 

White stated the fire chief and councillors agreed that medical first response call-outs will not have fees charged regardless of the proposed policy.

The fee would apply to call-outs such as structure fires and motor vehicle collisions, while fees for false fire alarms would be at the fire department’s discretion.

The policy will now be put out for public comment. Council will consider the policy again after public consultation is completed.

Campground financial loss

White stated councillors read a report on the Alix Lake campground, which is now closed for the season. 

The village is projecting a financial loss as of the council meeting date of about $2,000, which is actually less than in 2019.

It was noted that the campground caretakers reduced their billing because of fewer duties, linked to the pandemic.

Contamination cleanup

The CAO reported on a contaminated site in the village that required remediation. 

She noted a lot of work had been done to clean up contamination located under a road, which was partially paid for with grant funding.

Recent testing was conducted and councillors were told it appears there is no contamination left in the groundwater.

New business in Railway House

After some time spent in closed session, councillors moved back into the open meeting and approved leasing bay 3 in the Railway House. 

The CAO reported to councillors a new business will be opening up in there.

All bays in that building are now leased.

Strategic plan

Councillors approved the 2020 strategic plan. 

After strategy meetings were held the plan was sent out for public comment, and White noted some residents did come into the village office to ask questions, but no one sent in any concerns.

The CAO stated a strategy plan is usually guidance from councillors to staff on where they want to see the village go. These plans are usually done just before budgeting begins in late fall.

Draft budget

CAO White presented councillors with the draft 2020 operating budget, which they ran through at a very high level. 

Councillors sent the draft budget back to administration with adjustments to be made and the budget will come back at a future meeting.

Disaster Services Agency

Director of Emergency Management Janene Anderson gave a report to councillors on the village’s disaster services activities in 2020, mostly focusing on Alix’ compliance with provincial legislation.

Councillors passed a resolution to accept the report.

Inspection report

Councillors examined the Municipal Affairs Inspection report dating from 2017, a report that apparently had been the result of a village resident request.

CAO White stated one outstanding detail in the inspection report is a review of the village’s procurement policy; that is, the policy that sets out how the village purchases goods and services. 

She noted it’s in the works to review, but hasn’t come to council yet.

Village with the MOST

White stated the Village of Alix is eligible for $79,324 in Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) funding. 

The funding is intended to reimburse municipalities for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and must be used by spring, 2021.

 

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.

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