Alix village council approved the regional water commission’s 2023 budget, including a water rate hike, noting that residents would have to pay the water increase one way or another.
The decision was made at the Wed. Dec. 7 regular meeting of council.
Councillors read a report from Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White noting that the Hwy. #12/21 Water Commission submitted its 2023 budget which includes a hike to the retail water rate.
“At the Nov. 16 council meeting a draft 2023 budget from Hwy. #12/21 was included on the agenda for council review and comment as is required by the water commission bylaws,” stated White’s agenda memo.
“According to that draft budget the per cubic metre water rate was proposed to increase to $3.349. The current rate charged to residents is $3.15 per cubic metre.”
White stated later in her memo that if adopted the higher rate would translate roughly to $4 more on a village water bill that used 20 metres cubed per month.
White notified councillors they still had the option, if they wished, to leave water billing at last year’s rates with the Village of Alix paying the difference out of property taxes to the water commission. Either way, it was noted, the water commission invoice must be paid.
The CAO also recommended sewer charges be left at their 2022 level as no increase was necessary.
Councillors passed a bylaw that amended the utility rates and fees schedule.
The CAO in her regular report to council stated non-profit groups seem to be in search of new members.
“There have been a few requests from local non-profit organizations to promote joining their boards,” stated White.
“Since this seems to be something affecting more than one or two groups we will be forwarding a letter to the Alix Chamber of Commerce asking them to consider having a ‘sign up’ night. This would be a community event for all area organizations where they could promote what their group has to offer. It could be used as board recruitment and/or activity sign up.”
Mayor Rob Fehr noted he’s also heard concerns from volunteer groups that recruitment is difficult.
White noted she’d recently took some financial training intended for CAOs and other government staff.
“I participated in a virtual conference from Nov. 15 to 18 put on by the Canadian Association of Government Finance Officers,” stated her report.
‘They had very good sessions on budget best practises and how to budget during a recession, current economic climate and valuation of your natural assets.”
Councillors read a letter from Ponoka Mayor Kevin Ferguson noting very serious concerns that community has with ambulance availability.
Ponoka Mayor Ferguson listed many concerns including the fact an ambulance dispatched to respond to a recent hit and run in Ponoka was diverted en route to Red Deer. Ponoka apparently had a second ambulance sent to them from Leduc.
Ponoka is also concerned with the fact their firefighters were the first to arrive on medical event scenes 18 times within the last year.
Ponoka’s letter was sent to various departments in the provincial government.
The CAO noted Alix is fortunate to have its own first responders.
A Lacombe Regional Emergency Management committee meeting report was submitted by Coun. Ed Cole. In the report Cole provided information from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) noting it is no longer part of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs but now a part of Public Safety, which made more sense anyway.
The report noted a, “…large number of retiring field officers being filled.” Councillors accepted the report for information.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter