By Tim Kalinowski
Parramatta Subdivision residents got an early Christmas present from Cypress County council on Dec. 15 when councillors voted to pay for a $10,000 engineering study to be done on the possibility for a new pipeline tie-in to have potable water brought into the dozen households left without readily available drinking water there since October.
Councillors agreed to pay up to $10,000 of the cost of the study out of county’s own pocket rather than putting an additional burden on the Parramatta residents who are still paying off the cost of their now decommissioned treatment plant. A big factor in council’s decision was the Parramatta Valley Water Co-op has its own water rights, and would require no additional consideration on that front from the County, which is actively seeking additional water rights wherever they can be found to supply its own growth needs.
Also on the water front, Cypress County council voted to buy two shares of the Cypress Water Co-op to provide potable water directly to Cavan Lake. This increases the possibility that new showers or other infrastructure requiring potable water could be built in the regional park down the road.
The poor economy’s bite was also felt on Dec. 15 as council set itself to pass its 2016 budget. First came news of that unfavourable Linear Assessment from the provincial government.
The second portion of bad news came when council voted to end tax collection procedures against two local energy companies, which have both declared bankruptcy this year. PetroViking and Sunrise Energy owe together over $200,000 in unpaid taxes and fees to Cypress County.
Director of Corporate Services John Belanger advised council it was the legal opinion those monies would never be collected given the dissolute state of the companies in question. He advised councillors it would probably be better to write off the amount instead to get the sum owing off the county’s books.
Councillors voted in favour of Belanger’s recommendation. The resulting $200,000 revenue hole left in the county’s 2016 budget will likely have to be paid in whole or in part from the county’s reserve funds. Although the 2015 gravelling and snowplowing surplus may yet be large enough to encompass this amount as well.