Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Town of Pincher Creek CAO releases third quarter 2017 report

Town of Pincher Creek CAO Laurie Wilgosh released her third quarter 2017 report to Town Council at their regular meeting of October 10, the final public meeting of council prior to Monday's election.  Portions of the report deal with issues raised in letters to the Editor and published here (click here for our Comment category) on the Pincher Creek Voice website and at the recent candidates forum (click here for our extensive elections coverage).  The CAO report is presented entire below.

CAO Third Quarter Report – 2017

Town of Pincher Creek CAO Laurie Wilgosh

For the benefit of Council and Residents of Pincher Creek, I would like to clear up some misunderstandings in the community. First and foremost residents may inquire regarding Town functions and procedures at any time, by either contacting the Town Council members or the Town Office. The on line iWorq system works very well for reporting issues around the community such as garbage missed, water breaks, downed street signs, bylaw issues, etc. If a more in depth question arises, personal contact with a municipal representative as above, could provide more clarity. Residents are encouraged however to keep the reference number of their iWorq request, and follow up that way first.
Number of Town Staff:

The Town has approximately 35 fulltime staff. At this time we are short one fulltime position, in the Operations department (public works) due to an employee retirement. This department is responsible for road development and maintenance, water distribution and supply, wastewater distribution and maintenance, solid waste (garbage), facility maintenance, cemetery services and maintenance, directing and coordinating contractor repairs and new infrastructure development, public grounds maintenance, parks and sportsfields, (some of which is shared with the recreation dept.), etc.

The Town has one CAO, three Directors – Community Service, Operations and Finance & Human Resources, and three managers – Administration, Legislative Services and Recreation.

Management staff are expected to attend evening meetings as required, without additional compensation.

Part of the fulltime staff above includes, four Operations/ Facilities Coordinators (lead hands) which are part of the regular maintenance staff. We have one Aquatic Coordinator, one FCSS/Special Projects Coordinator, and a CPO – Community Peace Officer. The Town also employs a Marketing, Events and Economic Development Officer, again all included in the 35 fulltime positions above.

The remainder of the staff are parttime or casual, primarily in the recreation department covering pool operations and arena.  We have a parttime bylaw/safety officer.

To do an accurate comparison to another similar sized community, one would have to know what facilities are located and manned or maintained by each municipality, as this varies considerably.

In camera (confidential) items: 

The Municipal Government Act and the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act dictate what items may or should be discussed in camera. The general guideline is Land, Legal or Labor. Any item that would make public another person’s confidential business or a company’s proprietary information cannot be shared without third party authorization.

An example of items that have been discussed in camera, are:
Land – lease renewals on properties owned by the Town and rented to a third party, may include amendments to the agreement; or land which Council may be considering to bring into the Town’s inventory for a future need.

Legal – Could be a contractor dispute, or a significant land development issue requiring a specific development agreement

Labor – Could be a change in a management position, or perhaps a negotiated settlement with a retiring employee
All decisions related to in camera (confidential) items are made during the public portion of the meeting, and included in the official minutes of the meeting.

Franchise Fees:

Franchise Fees are another item of inquiry raised recently – These fees are charged towards the consumption on the monthly power and gas customer invoice. The Town signs an agreement with the service provider to supply all customers within the municipal jurisdiction with the product. It is another source of revenue for municipalities and the Town’s rate is somewhere mid range of what the provincial regulation allows. Although customers may not agree with the charge, past and present Town Councils have determined that it should be applied to help offset the properties within the Town that are exempt of taxation. It allows those organizations and facilities to help contribute financially to the municipal services that are provided to all property owners.

Understanding the Property Tax Calculation:

  1. The Town appoints an assessor as per the Municipal Government Act (MGA) section 284.2 (1) to assess (valuate) all properties in the municipality.
  2. It is the Town appointed assessor’s responsibility to provide an assessment of all Town properties.
  3. The 2017 Assessment is based on the market value of the property as of July 1, 2016.
  4. The assessment roll must be finalized by February 28, 2017.
  5. Property taxes consist of: a) Municipal residential or non-residential (commercial) rate; b) School Requisition – from province; c) Senior’s Lodge Requisition (Crestview Lodge); d) Pincher Creek Emergency Services Commission Requisition (Fire Service)
  6. The requisitions are funds collected for other agencies so although the municipality collects these funds, they are forwarded to the other agencies to help cover their operations.
  7. The Municipal residential and non-residential taxes are calculated as follows: a) The assessor provides the Town with the 2017 Assessment Roll; b) The Council passed the 2017 budget to provide all Town services (excluding water, sewer and garbage) which are self-supporting; c) The required tax revenue required to fund the 2017 budget is divided by the 2017 total taxable assessment to calculate the 2017 Mill Rate for residential and non- residential properties; d) This rate is applied to each customer’s property assessment to determine the municipal portion of the property taxes, and additional rates to cover the additional requisitions

Highlights of the 3rd quarter of 2017:

  • Town Council signed the MOU (Memorandum of Agreement) with Habitat for Humanity (click here for that story), to proceed with the eventual housing development of a duplex on Dupuy St. to house two eligible families
  • Alberta Southwest support (town lead) for a $2,000,000 grant application to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to develop a southern Alberta network of charging stations for electric vehicles
  • Resignation of Councilor Duane Filipuzzi – due to family relocation
  • Town purchase with Alberta Transportation Green Trip funding of a Crestline Arbor Spirit of Freedom Bus for public transportation
  • Crowsnest Pass Pincher Creek Landfill Association proposed incinerator license amendment – a list of concerns previously identified by Council to be provided to the landfill and to be addressed by the Board
  • Support provided for the Southern Alberta Emergency Management Resource Sharing
  • Agreement update to facilitate mutual aid in large scale disaster situations
  • Pool and water slide project approval awarded to local contractor, Linc Builders
  • Transportation committee recommendations approved for a designated bus route, with bus shelter locations and additional bus stops
  • Diamond level ($1000) sponsorship approval for the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence event
  • Support and advertising approved for the Alberta NWT Legion Military Service Recognition Book
  • Donation of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association rebate of $3142.00 to Kidsport
  • A program to help top up funding for all youth to take part in local sports activities
  • A pet off-leash and dog park designated and approved for local dog owners
  • Land Sale of town owned lot – Plan 1710737, Block C, Lot 9 - $131,250 (east of firehall)
  • Tender award to BYZ Enterprises Ltd. for the Southeast Watermain Loop project – Hyde St. and Golf Course area



  • Winter Street Maintenance Policy # 302-13A – reviewed, no changes

Council Delegations:

  • Alecia Williams – Wildrose Rough Runner race
  • Approximately 60 residents relative to Hillcrest Area Structure Plan Bylaw # 1621-17 and
  • Public Hearing
  • Kelly Nelson and Allison Malhi – Pincher Creek Skating Club

CAO Meetings, Webinars and Courses:

  • Joint Health and Safety Meetings
  • Council and Committee of the Whole meetings
  • Joint Council meeting with Town and M.D. # 9 Council
  • EOC – Emergency Operation Centre – assistance and evacuation planning and development, if it became necessary during the Kenow Fire event – included RCMP, Pincher Creek Hospital representation, Alberta Emergency Management Agency Field Officer, and an independent community consultant
  • Transportation Committee meetings
  • Housing Committee meeting
  • Day Care Committee meetings
  • PCESC – Pincher Creek Emergency Services Commission meetings
  • Bi Weekly Staff and Management meetings

Staff Safety Topics:

  • July – Element 7 – Incident Investigation – presented by Recreation Dept. August – Solar Eclipse Effect – presented by Library and Operations September – Trenching and Excavation – presented by Operations Dept. Upcoming Projects and Priorities:
  • To continue with the development of a clear and concise Town Evacuation Plan, in conjunction with other Town organizations
  • To inform all new Council members of the Town departments, policies, bylaws, procedures, and to attend with Council all training and orientation opportunities approved by Council
  • Continue progress on the three priority initiatives of the existing Council: Public Transportation, Day Care relocation, and Housing – dependent on Council approvals

CAO and Council Commitment:

Due to resignations and Council nominations, it is clear that there will be some change to the existing Council membership. It has been a pleasure to work with the present Council. Thank you for your passion for the betterment of the community, and for your support of the Administration and staff of the Town of Pincher Creek. Your motivation to improve services to the community kept us busy and challenged! When Council and staff are able to move forward together with trust and vision, much can be accomplished and the community benefits.

We look forward to what the new Council sets as priority issues and projects and to working with them to help accomplish their goals.

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