Big Valley village council decided it will change the way municipal staff remove snow from public streets. The decision was made at the Nov. 20 regular meeting of council.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Colleen Mayne began the discussion on snow removal by presenting three different versions of the municipal snow removal policy and explaining that only one was needed. 

Mayne stated it seems snow removal policies began to be approved beginning May, 2020 with changes up to 2022 but without the previous versions being rescinded or removed.

The CAO noted the snow removal policy also quoted a figure of 7.5 cm as the threshold for the Public Works department to begin plowing snow; Mayne stated one of the existing policies changed that figure to 2.5 cm. 

The CAO explained some work was needed to ensure the snow removal policy met the Municipal Government Act (MGA).

Coun. Dan Houle stated council had been told in the past that three inches of snow was needed to get the Public Works staff onto snow plowing, with council then advised to change the figure to 2.5 cm.

Mayor Clark German stated he felt that lowering the threshold that much made the problem worse because such a small amount meant the staff had to focus on Main Street and possibly neglect other routes.

Public Works Foreman Amanda Valente noted a low threshold like 2.5 cm means staff bank a lot of overtime plowing on what seems to be a small amount of snow.

During discussion councillors suggested boosting the snow plowing threshold for Public Works to 7.6 cm, which is three inches, a figure said to be used by a number of other municipalities.

Councillors instructed the CAO to effectively go back to the 2020 snow removal policy and discard changes made to it since. The CAO noted the revised policy will be presented to councillors at their December regular council meeting for approval.

By the numbers

Councillors perused the provincial 2024 equalized assessment report for the Village of Big Valley, with Mayor German commenting that the document offered a very large amount of information to assist councillors with making their decisions.

According to the Government of Alberta website, “In Alberta, equalized assessment is the means of comparing property wealth in a uniform manner for all municipalities. Alberta uses an ad valorem assessment and tax system where property taxes are based on wealth and wealth is measured by the value of property expressed as an assessment.

“Equalizing an assessment is simply a process of adjusting each municipality’s taxable assessment to a common year in accordance with current legislation and policy. 

“The equalization process results in a common provincial assessment base that is used to determine the amount of requisition for each requisitioning body.”

During discussion councillors noted that the new report stated that the value of residential and farmland inside Big Valley’s boundaries dropped two per cent while non-residential property went up 7.88 per cent in value. Machinery went up by 3.99 per cent.

Mayor German observed that Big Valley’s property values have changed but those changes don’t seem large enough for the council to file a challenge.

Coun. Houle noted the report’s numbers come from the Government of Alberta’s assessor.

Coun. Amber Hoogenberg added she had no concerns with the report. 

Councillors unanimously accepted it as information.

Procedural bylaw

Councillors unanimously approved a revision of Bylaw 861, the procedural bylaw, which lays out how council will conduct its business.

The CAO noted the revision included details about how Big Valley residents can access council meeting agendas: the agenda will be posted at the village office, post office, village website and on social media.

Mayor German stated he felt these details should be included in the bylaw.

Perhaps another time

Councillors were informed the lone delegation on their agenda, the Big Valley Recreation Society, wasn’t present at the meeting. It was noted on the agenda the society wished to discuss the topic of Santana Field.

The CAO noted the society hadn’t contacted her to cancel.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Dec 07, 2023 at 10:17

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated