By Justin Seward
Cypress County was one of many rural municipalities at the RMA (Rural Municipalities of Alberta) last week in Edmonton.
The county was pleased with their trip to Alberta’s capital as their resolution to get provincial funding for HALO rescue went through.
The passed resolution from Cypress County through RMA was for the Government of Alberta to provide funds to locally and regionally-operated emergency response air ambulance services at the same ratio as the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) funding.
Furthermore that the Government of Alberta commissions an independent review, which includes public engagement, industry stakeholders and municipalities across Alberta of the helicopter emergency medical services system in the province.
“That was passed and going into RMA’s hands to take to the government on our behalf,” said Cypress County Reeve Dan Hamilton.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to get that looked at, just treat us the same as they’re treating STARS and HERO.”
The resolution initially went to the RMA’s southern Alberta Foothills-Little Bow Association district, who approved for the county to take the proposal to the RMA Conference to see if there is the possibility of getting a resolution through.
Hamilton and county Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)Tarolyn Aaserud met with Minister of Municipal Affairs Kaycee Madu, who told them that there will not be any change to the municipality’s assessment for 2019 and 2020, but there will be changes coming in 2021.
“It’s all on shallow gas,” said Aaserud.
“Currently we’ll find out in October (2020) what our assessment is and that’s what my recommendation at the last council meeting was to hold off and do an interim budget until we find out what our assessment is.”
The county is one of 15 municipalities who are affected by Shallow Gas Tax Relief Initiative, which allows municipalities to implement 35 per cent property tax reduction on shallow gas wells and pipelines across the province.
Cypress County also met with Alberta’s Minister of Environment Park’s Jason Nixon, but Hamilton could not disclose details of ongoing discussion the county has with him.
A meeting was also held with RCMP’s ‘K’ Division and everything is still status quo.
“We’re very happy with (Redcliff RCMP Staff Sgt.) Sean Maxwell and Cypress County (enhanced officer) Rebecca Wilkie (and) what they’re doing for Cypress County,” said Hamilton.
“In the past we weren’t happy, so now that we are, we thought it was right to tell them that we are.”