Friday, April 26, 2019


By Marianne Cole

Presentation by Mountain Rose Women's Shelter

Cindy Easton presented information with regards to their recent activities/ideas for dealing with homelessness in the county/Rocky Mtn. House area. She noted that the new Women’s Shelter (west of A &W) will hopefully be completed by August. This facility will only accommodate women and children so there is a need for places for men. Further renos are being considered for the Post House which may help cover that issue. Cindy was expressing the need for community involvement and they would like representation form Clearwater County Council on their Community Working Group on Homelessness. There was great discussion by Council on this issue and Council will consider their request for representation at their fall organizational meeting.

North Saskatchewan River Park Update
Roger Smolnicky, Recreation Director from the town, gave Council an up-date on the improvements geared for the NSRP. A grant of $375, 484 has been received and work will begin soon with hopes of having a covered grandstand in time for the pro chuckwagon races in August. Other improvements included power service, portable bleachers, fencing, and infield box upgrades.

Grant Funding for Community Halls Policy
 Council approved a policy outlining the county’s method of approving grants for community halls. Annual allocations will be based on hall capacity, with $2500 allowed for halls with capacity of less than 250 and $5000 for larger halls.

Tax Rate Discussion
Significant discussion took place on proposed tax rates for 2019. It was pointed out that the actual tax dollars to be paid are based on the property assessment value from the previous year along with the tax rate to be established for the current year. It was also noted that added to the county’s portion is the province’s school requisition. The province uses the previous two years’ assessments in determining their rates.

 With this in mind, estimates show that for residential and farm ratepayers there may be a 5.41% increase in school requisition while non-residential (business) may see a 13.8% increase. This would equate to $13.83 per $100,000 assessment for residences and $47.72 per $100,000 for businesses. That is without any increase in the municipal portion.

A 0% increase in municipal taxes would leave the County in a deficit of $434,331 for this year while a 1% increase would give the County a $35, 826 surplus.

****** It is important to note that the County currently has a restricted surplus of $95, 284, 283 (up $13, 603, 918 from 2017) and an unrestricted surplus of $1, 115, 104. The restricted surplus is divided into various categories including roads, bridges, facilities, broadband, etc. A final decision on the 2019 tax rate will be made in May.

Audited Financial Statements.
 The County’s auditors presented the audited financial statement for 2018 and indicated that the county is in a favorable position financially. Revenue in 2018 ( $57, 964, 957) increased 13.14% over 2017 ($51, 184, 839) while expenses in 2018 ($51, 085, 449) increased 3.59% over 2017 ($49, 317, 003). The County Council and Administration should be commended for their fiscally responsible operation.

Thursday, April 4, 2019


Community Hall Funding Policy
 At their meeting on March 26th, County Council reviewed their policy for funding community halls. Currently there are 20 halls in the county with varying degrees of use and sustainability. The county has previously budgeted $35,000 annually to be available for funding only capital projects by community halls on a first come, first served basis. The maximum that a hall could apply for was $15,000 and this would be allocated on a 50-50 cost share basis. Following significant discussion council “directed Administration to draft a policy for Council’s consideration at a future meeting, reflective of split, flat rate funding policy for community halls, for both operating and capital costs, with annual amounts of $5,000 for halls with higher usage and $2500 for halls with lower usage, for a three year period.” (Quoted from County Meeting Highlights)

Town Sewage Lagoon Update
The town’s Director of Engineering and Operations attended the March 26th council meeting to provide an update on the status of the town’s sewage lagoon. For some time there have been issues with failed lethality testing of effluent going from the lagoon into the North Saskatchewan River, and full disclosure of this information had not been given to county council. The county was, however, involved in the usage of the lagoon as well as its funding.
At Tuesday’s meeting it was mentioned that there are additional problems with sludge build-up and this will require planned stages of clean up. In his report the Director apologized for the earlier lack of communication from the town and presented proposed improvements to address the de-sludging as well as other up-grades to the aerated lagoon.
We thank our current County Council for their diligence in requesting up to date information so that issues that we are involved with, and required to help fund, can be addressed appropriately in a timely manner.

Clearwater County Crime Watch
 The CCCW annual meeting was held on Thursday, March 21st at the Leslieville Community Hall. In his report President Dan Lyons noted:
· A significant increase in membership (now over 200)
· The positive impact of the Crime Reduction Units that focus on/target crime hot spots with special increased patrols
· Problems with the current fan out system and efforts to improve it
· The rural crime epidemic province wide, due in large part to the influence of drug activity.
RCMP Liason Harold Smits added his comments on the Crime Reduction Units as well, and also mentioned that with the warmer weather there will likely be an increase in criminal activity. We are all encouraged to be on the look out for, and report, any suspicious activity.
We certainly thank all the long serving members of the CCCW and wish the in-coming directors the very best as they diligently work to address crime in our area.

West Central Stakeholders Information Night 
 The WCS is holding a public information night on Thursday, April 11 at the Leslieville Community Hall. Doors open at 6:00PM and at 7:00PM there will be a presentation by Cody Battershill from Canada Action speaking on “Separating Facts from Friction”. His presentation will address the story behind the anti-industry strategies, supporting our resource industry and our community, and being a credible source for information. There will also be networking opportunities and information booths, refreshments, and door prizes. It should be a very interesting evening.

Meeting Date Change 
 Following concerns raised at our last CCTA meeting a motion was passed that our monthly meetings be changed from the 2nd Tuesday of the month to the third Tuesday. Consequently the next meeting will be April 16th… an interesting date as it’s also election day. There could be real opportunity for great discussion on numerous topics!!!

In the Wind
 April is usually the month when the County’s audited financial statements are presented and we have the opportunity to see exactly how our tax dollars were spent, along with the income that came in, during the previous year. This, then, sets the stage for determining what our taxes will be for the year. We encourage everyone to check the county’s website, “Meeting Minutes and Agendas”, for when these important items will be presented. Then come to the council meeting to hear first hand how your hard earned dollars have been used.

 Why couldn’t the rabbit fly home for Easter?? He didn’t have the hare fare. What do you get when you pour hot water down a rabbit hole?? A Hot Cross bunny!!

 Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 7:30PM, Arbutus Community Hall, Regular meeting 

 Tuesday, May 21, 2019, 7:30PM, Arbutus Community Hall, Regular meeting.