Monday, January 6, 2020


Town/County Amalgamation 
This is likely the biggest news item and one that will be “on the books” for a while.
On December 12, 2019, Town Council voted unanimously to initiate talks with Clearwater County about amalgamation between the town and county. This came as a surprise to county councillors and has raised the ire of many county taxpayers.
As per the Municipal Government Act, any amalgamation would be a lengthy process and involve the following steps:

· Written notice of the proposed amalgamation submitted to the county and the Minister of Municipal Affairs
· Upon receipt of the notice the municipalities must meet to discuss the proposals and “negotiate the proposals in good faith”.
· Upon conclusion of the negotiations the initiating municipality must prepare a report describing the result of the negotiations and submit it to the Minister.
· The report must be signed by the initiating authority and the authority it proposes to amalgamate with. Note: A municipal authority that does not sign the report may include, in the report, its reasons for not signing.
· The report is then sent to the Minister.
· The Minister may initiate amalgamation if he/she believes the operation of the amalgamated authority will be more effective/efficient.
· The Minister may invite comments from the public and may conduct meetings of the public to discuss the probable effects of the amalgamation.
· In the end the Minister makes a recommendation to the Lieutenant Governor in Council to amalgamate the municipalities or not.

This is a lengthy process, providing ample time for residents from both the town and county to voice their opinions. Let us also hope that any meetings held by the town and county on this matter would be open to the public. We are the ones paying the bills and deserve full opportunity for involvement. 

2020 Budget 
 Following 3 days of budget deliberations in December, council approved the 2020 operating and capital budgets. According to the county’s news release of December 19, 2019, council’s goal is to “maintain the core services that enhance Clearwater County residents’ quality of life…through ongoing efforts to enhance efficiency and identify savings.” Figures for the Operating and Capital budgets are listed below with the 2019 figures in brackets: 

Operating: Revenue: $49,374,154 ($51,275,519) Expenses: $53,996,164 ($52,050,916)

Capital: Revenue: $17,083,500 ($12,994,121) Expenses: $52, 599,522 ($42,411,427)

Highlights of projects proposed for 2020 include Broadband ($5M), construction of the Leslieville Public Services Building to house the Leslieville Fire Station ($5.6M), gravel road rehabilitation ($5M), Taimi Road pavement from RR 40-0 to Hwy 12 ($3.2M), Sunchild Road Asphalt Overlay ($7.8M), Nordegg Development ($5.3M), Condor Lagoon upgrades ($1.7M) and bridge rehab and replacements ($5.6M).

In order to balance all the figures it would seem that money would have to come from reserves---we can be thankful we have some. We would also like to keep them and not have to spend them for the benefit of others that have not contributed. Let’s say no to amalgamation!

Smiles for the New Year  
Why do you need a jeweller on New Year’s Eve? To ring in the New Year.

What’s a New Year’s Resolution? Something that goes in one year and out the other. 

What did the farmer give his wife on New Year’s Eve? Hogs and kisses. 

Coming events: 
Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 7:30PM, Arbutus Community Hall, regular monthly meeting. 
 Further regular meeting dates have not yet been determined but will be discussed on Wednesday