compiled by Morinville News Staff with files from Colin Smith
Town takes action on 642
Following a letter from Alberta Transportation indicating the chip seal project on Highway 642 (100 Avenue) was not performing as anticipated, Mayor Barry Turner passed the chair to Deputy Mayor Rebecca Balanko to make a motion to have Administration work with him to have:
1/ Alberta Transportation meet with Council to arrange a final resolution for the road condition of Highway 642.
2/ Invite them to present their solution at a public committee of the whole meeting in the first quarter of 2019.
3/ Develop a communication plan to communicate Alberta Transportations solutions prior to March 1 2019.
The motion passed unaimously.
Council votes to not raise pay
A motion to allocate $30,000 set aside in the proposed 2019 budget to shelter Morinville councillors from the effects of a tax change was defeated in a 3-3 split vote Nov. 27 resulting in lower take-home pay at least for now. Mayor Turner and Councillors Dafoe and Giffen were in opposition to the motion.
Up to this point, one-third of the pay that the mayor and councillors receive in the form of honorariums has been exempt from taxation, having been considered an allowance in lieu incidental expenses.
But those non-accountable allowances must now be included as taxable income, as a result of changes coming out of the 2017 federal budget. The result is a drop in net income.
Council is scheduled for a midterm remuneration review and have opted to piggyback on the Town of Morinville’s biannual staff compensation review. Any changes to Council honorarium, including compensating for the tax break loss would be debated during 2020 budget deliberations.
Council approves one-year extension to photo radar contract
Morinville Council wanted to know what its options were in dealing with the town’s photo radar contractor whose contract expires in April of 2019.
Following a closed session at council’s regular meeting Sept. 11, Councillor Nicole Boutestein moved that administration evaluate its options regarding the current automatic traffic enforcement and report back.
That report came to Council Nov. 27 with a recommendation to renew for a period of one to four years with a 30 day opt out close for either party.
A motion by Councillor Dafoe to move the discussion to Feb. 27 to allow discussion on a council policy to have a discussion on whether to maintain or discontinue the program was defeated in a 3-3 split vote with Councillors Boutestein and Hall and Mayor Turner opposed.
A subsequent motion to renew for one year was also defeated ina 3-3 vote with Deputy Mayor Balanko and Councillors Dafoe and Giffen opposed.
A follow-up motion to renew for one year but have a discussion on the fate of the program in the first quarter of 2019 passed 4-2 with only Balanko and Dafoe opposed.
Homeland Housing Affordable Housing project receives Council green light
A 48 Unit – Net Zero, Affordable Housing Project that is a partnership with Homeland Housing and the Government of Alberta was given unanimous development approval by Council Nov. 27.
The project, to be located on 100 Street, north of the cemetery would be a net zero development meaning it would generate as much energy as it consumes through the use of geothermal and solar energy.
The development will include two 8-unit Stacked Townhouse buildings with southern roof exposure and one 32-unit apartment building.
Concerns over the development were received both by email and in person in Council Chambers included concerns over the elevations of the building with respect to the privacy of houses across the road, parking lot size and overflow, the impact on 100 Street, and concerns regarding traffic increases on 101A Street, particularly around Morinville Public School.
In addition to conditions on the development related to parking, landscaping, and lighting, Council unanimously approved a condition for a traffic impact study.
Third Reading of Budget to be continued
After trimming the library’s budget request down to a five per cent increase, passing a motion to have Administration find another $150,000 in efficiencies across all departments and trimming some other items, including $17,000 to the Chamber fo Visitor Information Sevices, Council voted unanimously to continue whittling the 2019 budget’s third reading to their Dec. 11 meeting.
If a proposed adopts a non-residential split mill rate of 1:1.1, to climb over a five -year period to 1:1.5 is adopted, taxes for the average non-residential property owner will go up 13.3 per cent.
Next year the average homeowner (with an assessment of $300,000 will pay $2,154.48 in property taxes, up $62.75 over 2018, while taxes for the average non-residential property owner will go up $278.20, for a total of $2,369.93.
The budget includes the cost of hiring the equivalent of 9.21 permanent staff.