By Stan Ashbee
Alberta Newspaper Group
County of Forty Mile council held a regular meeting recently, which included a 40 Mile Park Management Committee Report being submitted to council, as information.
“Everything is relatively quiet there, this time of year. They did hire a new park manager about six months ago. The former manager and the new park manager have been overlapping just until the new park manager had a handle of what was going on. We just said we think this person has a good handle on it now. The old manager is our new ag field person. We just said ‘OK, now you’ve got to concentrate on your new area and get that organized and ready for spring,’” county Reeve Steven Wikkerink noted.
Council approved the appointment of an assessor, as designated officer through three readings of Bylaw 01/2020. Section 284 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) requires an assessor be appointed, as a designated officer of a municipality and therefore a bylaw has been prepared for the appointment of Lance Wehlage to carry out the duties of an assessor.
“He’s been working with us now for at least three years, so we just reappointed him to be our assessor for the next year,” Wikkerink added.
Council approved the Shortgrass Library System’s 2020 Budget. A municipal/materials requisition is as follows: Municipal Requisition – population 3,581 x $5.12 per capita = $18,335. Materials Requisition – population 3,581 x $5.08 per capita = $18,191. TOTAL: $36,526.
“We reviewed that and discussed it a little bit and went ahead and approved all their figures they had sent to us,” said Wikkerink.
During the recent regular meeting, council decided to reschedule its County Municipal Committee Meeting from Nov. 11 to the proposed date of Nov. 10. Of course, Nov. 11 is Remembrance Day.
In the agenda, it was stated, the Village of Foremost provided their 2019 Cemetery Revenue andExpenditure Report and requested the county’s consideration in providing financial assistance in the amount of $8,500 to assist with the 2020 operation and maintenance costs. The Village of Foremost also provided their 2019 Airport Revenue and Expenditure Report and requested the county’s consideration in providing financial assistance in the amount of $8,500 to assist with the 2020 operation and maintenance costs.
“We reviewed their statement they sent us and the Town of Bow Island’s statements. Both for cemetery and for airport. We a little bit struggle with the cost Foremost says it costs to run both of those entities. We did go back and approve the amount we gave them last year, which was $3,500 for the cemetery and $3,500 for the airport,” Wikkerink explained. “We did not give them their ask.”
One of the information items discussed by council at the regular meeting was an equipment report.
“We’ve been asking our departments that have vehicles or equipment – we’ve been asking them to provide us with pictures of each unit with their unit number and with hours or kilometres on them. We just feel, as a council and most of us as our own business managers at home on our farms, we just like to see the equipment tied to what their hours are and when they were bought. I think it would make it easier for council to say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ when they come in and say ‘this needs to be replaced’ or ‘this does.’ This year is so crazy tight on the budget, we just had to push some things off,” said Wikkerink.
Wikkerink noted a recent media release about STARS Air Ambulance receiving funds from Capital Power. “Capital Power, who was the first windmill company in our county that built last summer, they just gave STARS $1 million. I know the executive director from Halo Rescue has had meetings with Capital Power already requesting some assistance in funding and it didn’t sound like they got a long way with that.”
Council, Wikkerink said, was really cranked up about the announcement. “We went online and did an Alberta Health Services (AHS) survey on helicopter service. Two of the three mandates on there is for priority being patient care and one of the other ones is timeliness. Anything down here in the County of Forty Mile, especially south of Highway 3, both of those criteria STARS cannot fill. STARS can not come here from Calgary and directly pick up a patient and go straight back to Calgary. They have to stop and refuel.”
If talk is truly about patient care and timing, Wikkerink added, Halo Rescue is the county’s machine in the southeast. “And with Capital Power being down here building and wanting to expand their wind farm already, it was a bit of a slap to us when we saw that in the news.”
Wikkerink said council will make a request for Capital Power to come to a council meeting to explain some of its rationale on STARS Air Ambulance funding.