The Village of Clive council had an animated discussion about whether or not taxpayers are getting their money’s worth for new policing.
The discussion took place at the Aug. 17 regular meeting of council.
Councillors discussed a provincial government document sent out to municipalities regarding billing for increased police services.
The provincial government announced last winter that communities would get more policing and local taxpayers would be billed directly for it.
Councillors noted during their discussion, the Village of Clive is being billed like other communities in Alberta, but new police service for Clive includes only a new officer at the Blackfalds RCMP detachment.
As council discussed the issue, it was noted that this situation was not what was originally promised by the provincial government.
Councillors also noted the new policing decisions haven’t included a lot of public consultation.
Mayor Luci Henry stated provincial government downloading of responsibilities needs to be reflected in the tax roll.
Councillors decided the village would send a letter from the mayor’s office laying out the village’s concerns with the new policing situation.
Oil/gas assessment review
Mayor Henry stated she met with other mayors and reeves recently to learn more about the provincial government’s review of how oil and gas properties are assessed and taxed.
Henry stated cuts to oil and gas property taxes will trickle down to urban municipalities too and affect things like fire departments, plus taxes that are collected on behalf of the provincial government like senior’s requisition and education tax.
The process has included embargoes that prevent participants from discussing the assessment.
Henry stated the proposed changes to oil and gas taxation also don’t seem to be much help to small or medium sized companies and she noted it seems the provincial government is attempting to take more decision-making power away from municipalities.
Councillors agreed the village should send a letter stating concerns about the oil and gas assessment review to the provincial government.
The talk of town this spring was the possibility of a new pharmacy coming to the village. A survey was conducted on the village website and the majority of respondents supported the idea.
Village staff gave an update on the proposal, which is still in the works.
The coronavirus pandemic has complicated things, but apparently the project is still under consideration.
Community garage sale
Clive’s annual community garage sale is going ahead this year, but with a few changes. The sale is typically held in mid-September.
Coun. Jeremy Whelan stated he still likes the idea of having sales in yards but was concerned about sellers from out-of-town setting up on public property due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He suggested no out-of-town sellers.
Mayor Henry noted the provincial government has stated garage sales are permissible.
During discussion council agreed outdoor garage sales are fine, anyone is welcome to attend the sales as long as social distancing is followed and out-of-town sellers shouldn’t be allowed this year.
It was also noted no public washrooms will be available.
Councillors agreed the community garage sale will go ahead with local sellers only and the village will close public spaces.
Council discussed whether or not the village should purchase pandemic face masks with the municipal logo on them.
Council approved staff looking into cost, styles and effectiveness of masks and report back at a future meeting.
Councillors decided the village will work with the local FCSS group to recognize volunteers. Village staff will help organize an appreciation effort while following pandemic guidelines.
Large item round-up
The community yard sale has, in the past, been coupled with the large item round-up in Clive. Public works staff typically drove around town and picked up certain unwanted items under 50 lbs.
Council discussed whether or not the round-up was even needed, as Clive residents tend to keep their community rather tidy most of the time.
Council decided they would continue with the round-up to be held sometime during the week of Sept. 14 for items under 50 lbs and no electronics.
Staff will pick the day to ensure no conflict with other responsibilities.
Reducing red tape
During their discussion about Municipal Sustainability Funding, councillors heard an update on how the village needs to document how it is reducing red tape.
Mayor Henry noted this may be a good time for the village to examine policies to ensure they’re as streamlined as possible.
Councillors also noted it is ironic that the provincial government wants to reduce red tape by increasing red tape for municipalities.
Staff gave an update on repairs to the Firehall roof, which they suspected may require an expensive fix.
As it turns out, a contractor went up on the roof and stated the repairs only needed some caulking to seal gaps.
It totalled about $150 and staff stated they’d keep an eye on it to ensure the repairs hold.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter