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News Year in Review May – July

Posted on January 11, 2024 by Taber Times

May

 At the April 25 M.D. of Taber Council meeting, the final operating and capital budgets for 2023 were presented. 

CAO Arlos Crofts first proposed that the 2023 projected uncollectible property tax exposure be reduced from $1 million down to $500,000 based on the 2022 and 2023 gas property tax collections and gas property assessments. The budget also proposed an increase of zero per cent with respect to the residential property mill rate and an increase of zero per cent in the non-residential property tax mill rate. 

 An outbreak of pertussis (Whooping Cough) declared Jan. 26, 2023 in the South Zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS) now has 146 identified cases. This is an increase from 126 as of April 20. 

The newly-reported cases indicate the outbreak is now present in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge, as well as smaller communities in the zone. Cases have been identified at schools and other community locations such as churches and sites where children gather to take lessons. Public Health is unable to identify linkages between most of the recent cases, indicating there is likely more disease circulating in communities that is not being reported. 

 Front curb residential pick up for waste collection was an unpopular choice in the Town of Taber’s 2023 Waste Collection Survey. 

Some 39 per cent of respondents weighed in as “strongly against” moving all residential cart pick up to front pick up, 12.1 per cent were “against”, and 20.5 per cent were “neutral/no opinion”. Only 28.4 per cent were in favour or strongly in favour. 

In November 2022, council directed administration to investigate the feasibility of front pick up of all carts. Council had requested public feedback be garnered on the feasibility of moving carts to front-curb pickup in response to complaints about residents leaving their carts in the alleyways after collection is complete. 

 Taber Safe Haven Women’s Shelter Society recently received a Capital Maintenance & Renewal Initiative Grant for $45,000 from the Alberta Social Housing Corporation. 

“The Capital Maintenance and Renewal Initiative gives us the opportunity to replace failed building components in order to keep our capital assets in safe operation,” Elisha Boulay, president of the Safe Haven Women’s Shelter Society, said. 

 With the Taber Arts and Crafts Society struggling to make ends meet, the Town of Taber has agreed to waive the organization’s water utility costs for one year. 

At the March meeting of the Arts and Heritage Committee, a motion was passed supporting the Taber Arts and Crafts Society attending a future Town Council meeting as a delegation to present their requests. 

According to figures provided in a profit and loss statement, in the year ending Dec. 31, 2022 the Taber Arts and Crafts Society’s expenses exceeded their revenue by $5,287.57. 

 Incumbent Grant Hunter and the United Conservative Party cruised to an easy victory in Taber-Warner on Monday evening, far outpacing his closest rivals at the polls to retain his position as MLA. 

Hunter’s resounding victory saw him take in 75.3 per cent of the vote in Taber-Warner, or some 12,370 votes. 

The provincial race saw the UCP secure a majority victory with 49 seats to the NDP’s 38. The UCP took in 52.6 per cent of the popular vote, with the NDP trailing at 44 per cent. 

June

 Recent changes to the Police Act have allowed for provincial appointments to municipal police commissions, but accepting the new appointees so far hasn’t been a smooth process. 

Last month, the Taber Municipal Police Commission (TMPC) got a first look at their provincial appointee, former town councillor Joe Strojwas. 

 With the Taber Public Library witnessing a protest earlier this month due to their Drag Queen Story Time event as part of Taber Pride, Tamara Miyanaga, member of the Taber Public Library Board, took a moment to share the board’s opinion on the protest. 

“On behalf of the library board we felt the protest was respectful, and we appreciated the support we received from the Taber Police Service,” said Miyanaga. “There was no negative altercations, and Taber Equality Alliance and those who protested were able to use the library in a peaceful and respectful manner.” 

 The Town of Taber has passed its property tax mill rates for 2023. 

At the May 11 special meeting, council voted unanimously to pass third and final reading of Property Tax Rate Bylaw 9-2023. In a series of follow-up motions, council also voted unanimously to pass third and final reading of Supplementary Property Tax Rate Bylaw 10-2023. 

The main mill rates for Taber for 2023 are 8.1857 (residential and farmland) and 12.8476 (non-residential). 

 With another majority election win under their belt, the United Conservative Party was riding high last month. 

But while pundits continue to discuss the fallout and the NDP conduct a post-mortem of their failed campaign, the hard business of effective governance begins. 

In the days following the election, Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter was busy taking down signs and wrapping up his campaign office. 

 Coun. Alf Rudd has resigned from Taber town council to take on the new role of Victim Services Manager with the Taber Police Service. 

Rudd, who also served previously as chief of the TPS, made his resignation during the June 26 meeting of council. 

“I am profoundly grateful to the residents of Taber for allowing me the privilege of serving as one of their elected representatives since 2021,” said Rudd in a statement released by the Town. “The decision to resign has weighed heavily on me, but my unwavering dedication to advocating for victims of crime fuels my belief that I can continue to serve the community while providing an opportunity for someone else to step into the role I am leaving behind on Council. I know a by-election was not the result citizens expected, but I want to thank the residents of Taber for their trust and support over the past two years.” 

July

 The Town of Taber will soon be launching a new app to assist residents with waste collection.

At their April 24 meeting, council had passed a resolution directing administration to investigate the cost and feasibility of an app to assist residents. Administration researched various applications that offer this service and determined that Recycle Coach was their preferred choice. 

 With many parents using youth sport organizations to help both themselves and their children it is presumed that these places are safe for kids. Unfortunately, this is not always the case but the Canadian Heritage Committee is continuing their investigation into incidences of recorded abuse. 

Martin Shields, MP for Bow River, discussed how these investigations are currently going.

 Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter has been appointed as Parliamentary Secretary for Agrifood Development, reporting to the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation.

Parliamentary Secretaries play an important role in assisting Ministers in their work and help achieve the government’s commitments by working with Albertans and partner organizations and businesses.

 The Municipal District of Taber has declared an agricultural disaster.

At their Council meeting on July 18, Council made the decision for the crop year 2023 as current conditions in the M.D. fit RMA (Rural Municipalities of Alberta) guidelines for an agricultural disaster. 

The M.D. stated they made this declaration to “address the severe drought conditions which are negatively impacting local agricultural producers,” especially within the dryland areas of the municipality. They recognized the importance of agricultural production to the economy and “stand with local producers during this difficult time.”

See more Year in Review in next week’s Taber Times.

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