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Council votes to reduce utility bill following boiler failure

Posted on April 12, 2023 by Taber Times

The following are selected briefs of the March 27 meeting of Taber town council. Coun. Jack Brewin was absent.

March 13 Meeting Closed Session

The following resolutions were made at the conclusion of in camera (closed session) discussion.

Operating Budget 2022 Carry Forward to Operating Reserves: Following discussion, council voted unanimously to approve the Operating Budget 2022 Carry Forward to Operating Reserves in the amount of $216,507 to be used in 2023.

Canadian Award for Financial Reporting 2021

The Town’s finance department has been awarded the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting Achievement for 2021. 

The GFOA established the award in 1986 for local governments that go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles, as set by the Public Sector Accounting Board of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of the transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.

Utility Reduction Request

Council voted 5-1 to approve a reduction of utility account #361000.001 in the amount of $450. Coun. Carly Firth opposed the motion.

On March 7, 2023, administration received a letter addressed to Mayor and Council regarding the reduction of utility bills. The property owner had boiler issues causing his consumption to be very high for January and February. The boiler system has since been replaced. The property owner requested Council waive the amount of $923 to reflect the normal consumption for his account. 

As per Utility Bylaw 20/2020 5.1: “Responsibility of Water Consumed – the owner shall be responsible for all water consumed on the premise, whether the water consumption was registered by the water meter or consumed by accidental or illegal means.”

Enclosed Trailer Purchase 

Council voted unanimously to direct administration to add the purchase of an enclosed trailer to the 2023 capital budget at a cost of $10,692, exclusive of GST, with the funds to be allocated from capital reserves.

Administration is requesting the purchase of a new 6’x12’ enclosed trailer, to be used for sanitary sewer video which is the most effective method to determine defects, the likelihood of failure and rehabilitation needs of the pipeline. The trailer will go together with the sanitary camera recently purchased. Due to the weight and size of the attachments needed for the camera system, staff are struggling with loading and unloading of the camera system in the back of a truck and feel a trailer is the best and safest option for the system. Administration would utilize the trailer as storage for the sewer camera and equipment along with an enclosed viewing area to examine the pipe right after it has be flushed by the flush truck. This process gives staff the best evaluation of the pipe and from that the life cycle of the pipe can be determined. Administration has assessed the best trailer for the needs to manage and view the sanitary video system. 

According to administration, the purchase of an enclosed trailer would improve staff’s ability to review videos and provide a safer work environment.

Additional Funding for Aquafun Centre Locker Replacement

Council voted unanimously to direct administration to allocate additional funds of $14,521.20 to be allocated from capital reserves for the completion of the 2023 Locker Replacement project.

The Recreation Department budgeted $90,000 for the Locker Replacement project in 2022. The town put out an ITQ for the project and received submissions that were well over budget. The project in 2022 was for the removal of old lockers and installation of new lockers. After looking at the scope of work, it was decided that staff could do the removal of the old lockers and install the new lockers. 

On Jan. 13, the Town put out an ITQ for the supply only of the lockers. On Feb. 9, the ITQ was closed and the Town received four quotes. After evaluation, the recommended award was for West Four Group of Companies Inc. for the purchase of Spectrum Lockers in the amount of $90,888, with a 15 per cent project contingency with the bid price to ensure completion, bringing the total project cost to $104,521.20.

AAIP Update and Settlement, Integration and Language Projects (SILP) Grant

Council voted unanimously to direct administration to accept the Settlement, Integration and Language Projects (SILP) Grant funding of $159,401 to hire an additional Economic Development Assistant to assist with the AAIP programming for a two-year term.

As of March 16, the Alberta Advantage Immigration (AAIP) Stats are as follows: Supported Candidates: 33. Total number of people including candidates’ families: 85. Businesses with at least one active candidate: 20. Total number of serious inquiries since mid-September 2022: 426. Candidate nationalities represented: UK – 1, India – 19, Pakistan – 5, Philippines – 6, Kenya – 1, Netherlands – 1. 

Town of Taber – 30 candidates, MD of Taber – 1 candidate, Vauxhall – 2 candidates.

“We have seen great success in the AAIP programs since kicking off in September of 2022,” stated administration in the Request for Decision. “Not only have we seen struggling business owners find staff to fill their positions, but we have also seen interest and investment in the community because of the program. Initially, the program interest was mostly in the service industry, however now we are seeing that change to include businesses like the school board, health care and qualified trades. We have also accepted the Town(s) of Coaldale, Picture Butte and Raymond on a trial basis to our program. As we progress in helping their employers and candidates, we will evaluate the workload required to successfully implement the program.”

Reallocation of 2022 Capital Funding

Council voted unanimously to direct administration to reallocate $12,000 in capital funds which was designated for the purchase of a Floor Scrubber to purchase a replacement Basketball Net System for the Taber Community Centre Auditorium/Gymnasium. 

The Recreation Department budgeted $12,000 for a replacement Floor Scrubber in the 2022 capital budget, but the existing units have since had a professional evaluation and it has determined that the units simply required regular maintenance. 

Due to safety concerns, the Basketball Net Systems that are used in the Auditorium/Gymnasium have had to be removed from drop-in programming and rental use. The Basketball Net System that is currently owned by the Town was intended for residential use which did not stand up to the heavier public usage and have been broken beyond repair, making them a danger to users and the setup staff. 

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