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Canmore council briefs: Tax recover auction to go-ahead, additional funding for municipal electric vehicles

Canmore council briefs: Tax recover auction to go-ahead, additional funding for municipal electric vehicles, Epcor annual report examines past and upcoming year and Town, Canmore Golf and Curling Club update brine supply agreement.
Canmore
The Town of Canmore. RMO File photo.

Tax recover auction to go-ahead

A date was set by Town council for a public auction on parcels of land that have been in tax arrears for more than a year.

The auction, which under the Municipal Government Act stipulates a municipality has to run a public auction if the taxes aren’t paid for more than a year, will take place Oct. 6 at 10 a.m.

The report noted there are 21 properties – 20 parking stalls and one commercial property – totalling $29,934 in outstanding taxes. However, if the taxes are paid before the auction and removed from the tax arrears list. The commercial property has already made sufficient payment, Richardson said.

If the properties reach the auction, council is responsible in setting reserve bids as close as possible to the fair market value, Richardson said.

Richardson said 48 properties originally were included, but have been cut by more than half as payments were made.

The report also highlighted the efforts by the finance department to work with the property owners in an effort to have the taxes paid.

Additional funding for municipal electric vehicles

An additional $13,000 was approved for the light fleet replacement to help better align municipal vehicles with the Town’s climate action plan.

The extra funds come from the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre’s Electric Vehicles for Municipalities program and brings the total to $123,000.

The staff report highlighted the capital project will help purchase three replacement vehicles, which two will be electric vehicles. The third vehicle didn’t have an electric equivalent, according to the report.

The program was originally cancelled last year to curtail costs due to COVID-19, but returned with the Town received funding through the Municipal Operating Support Transfer.

“It’s really important, both with our climate action plan and the context of showing leadership not only locally but also outside of our municipality,” Mayor John Borrowman said. “I think Canmore has done a number of important things when it comes to climate action and this certainly is one of them.”

Epcor annual report examines past and upcoming year

The annual report from Epcor highlighted the work completed in past year and what’s on tap for 2021.

Epcor was originally contracted by the Town in May, 1999, to operate its water, wastewater and stormwater utilities.

Canmore Epcor site manager Dennis Letourneau said 2020 was the best sewer main pipe flushing season on record and they were able to minimize the number of sewer backups and frozen water pipes. The report listed about 12 sewer backups being prevented annually each of the past three years.

A customer satisfaction survey from November 2019 to March 2020 found the overall satisfaction was listed as 93 per cent, while safety, clarity and reliability and consistency were between 95 and 98 per cent.

The Epcor report noted more than 5,000 tests are completed each year and they monitor 75 water quality parametres.

Health Canada also revised in 2019 their guidelines for the amount of lead that could be found in drinking water, which had the maximum acceptable concentration of lead found be reduced from 10 micrograms per litre to five.

Letourneau said rather than test at the handover point between the system and the home, it’s required to do it at the tap and they found no levels in the local public system.

Letourneau also said their Heart + Soul Fund saw $5,000 donated to each of the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation Mindfulness and Mediation Program and Bow Valley Christmas Spirit Campaign in the past year.

The report stated eight different projects were either completed last year or continuing to be worked on. This year will see the second phase of the South Bow River loop water main, the second phase of the MCC lifecycle and the BAF and headworks lifecycle second phase begin at the water and wastewater treatment plant.

The utility master plan will also be updated and Epcor is set to receive an environmental management certification that will allow a third-party auditor address any environmental issues.

The Town and Epcor agreed on a new utility services agreement that will take effect Sept. 1. The deal will have an initial term of five years, with three renewal options of five years each.

The contract focused on better defining the scope of the work, the service levels and term expectations, and improved clarity and flexibility on the expectations of services.

The approved contract will also see billing, communications and additional administration tasks shift from Epcor to the Town to improve services and curtail rising costs, a previous Town report noted.

Town, Canmore Golf and Curling Club update brine supply agreement

The brine supply agreement for the Town of Canmore and the Canmore Golf and Curling Club was amended by council.

The formula used to calculate the fee that provides brine to the club from the Canmore Recreation Centre was switched to a lump sum payment.

The move was necessary following the installation of a new ice plant in 2018, which operates different than the prior one, according to the staff report.

Under the previous agreement, the club would pay $10.20 per metered hour for brine. The new term would have the club pay $8,500 and have it annually adjusted with the consumer price index.

The report noted the club had paid an average of $9,000 the previous six years and the 2021 revenue budget estimated $10,500 would be received. The club will also incur any costs that come with brine replenishment from losses on the property.

“This new approach is more efficient to monitor and administer for both the Town and the Club,” the report stated. “As such, there will be negligible impact to the Town’s operating budget with this Amending Agreement.”

The two parties have been partners since 1988, just before the Winter Olympics took place. The existing 10-year agreement was previously signed in 2017.