by Colin Smith
Fees and Charges Approved
With the adoption of a new Fees and Charges Bylaw Amendment, Morinville Town Council has finally come to the end of a long trail.
The Bylaw Amendment was given third reading at the Council’s regular meeting Thursday. Introduced last October, it was deferred several times.
The Amendment updates Town amenity fees and charges, including Morinville Community Culture Centre rentals, Leisure Centre rentals and admissions, rates for open and sports fields, and for other community services. Morinville’s fees and charges had not been raised for 10 years.
Consideration of the measure had been prolonged as Councillors concerned about the impact on community groups of raising facility rental rates sought to minimize their impact.
The Amendment also provides a new usage category: a Community Cultural Centre weekend special events package that goes from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.
“The special event packaging is absolutely amazing,” said Councillor Nicole Boutestein. “Brilliant work on that one.”
Covid-19 update raises question on local deaths
Morinville had 21 active cases [16 as of Jan. 27] of the COVID-19 virus as of Tuesday afternoon, Council was told by Iain Bushell, General Manager, Community and Infrastructure Services. In his COVID-19 Pandemic Update, he stated that Aspen House has had a total of 45 cases since the beginning of the outbreak.
These numbers were provided by the Alberta government, but it is not being very forthcoming in general.
Councillor Stephen Dafoe noted that as of Monday a total of 10 deaths had been listed for Morinville. Dafoe asked Bushnell if he had been able to find out how many of those deaths had taken place at Aspen House. The answer was no.
Dafoe said it was interesting that in the early days of the pandemic information was readily available from the government, but is less so now.
“I know residents would like to know,” he said.
Bushell said, “Our attempt to mine information out of the Province has been frustrating and challenging.”
Unpaid property tax deadline to go back to original dates
The Unpaid Property Tax and Tax Arrears Penalty Bylaw received first reading at the meeting.
The measure replaces the Special Provisions Unpaid Property Tax Penalty Bylaw passed last April in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In it the typical July 1 tax penalty dated was deferred to September 1.
If passed, the current bylaw would set the first working day in July as deadline for that year’s tax payment, after which a penalty of 7.5% will be imposed. Taxes still unpaid on the first working day in January will be subject to a 9.5%. The penalty rates have remained the same as in 2020.
Closed session on ICF
Council received an Intermunicipal Collaborative Framework Update from Mayor Barry Turner. The update was provided during a closed session, with the justification of Freedom of Information and Privacy Act section 21 (Disclosure harmful to intergovernmental relations) and section 24 (Advice from Officials).
Councillors Richardson and Dafoe declined to attend Tuesday’s closed session.