Councillor Jeff Goebel absent.

Request For Decision (RFD)

Council reviewed 5 RFD:

· Lemonade Day Proclamation: Council has been requested to proclaim June 15, 2024, as Lemonade Day in Swan Hills. Council passed a motion to proclaim June 15, 2024, as Lemonade Day in Swan Hills.

· Lemonade Day Sponsorship: The Town of Swan Hills has sponsored this $500 award in previous years. Community Futures Yellowhead East has requested that the Town sponsor this award again for Lemonade Day 2024. Other requirements, such as supplying judges and event training spaces, will also be required. Council passed a motion to sponsor the Local Entrepreneur Of The Year award for Lemonade Day 2024.

· Lemonade Day Judges: As in the past, Community Futures Yellowhead East is requesting that three councillors be appointed as judges for this year’s Lemonade Day on June 15. Council passed a motion to appoint Councillors Krawiec and Kuyek as judges for this year’s Lemonade Day, along with a third Councillor, who is yet to be decided.

· Alberta Municipalities (AM) Analysis of Provincial Budget: AM has released its preliminary analysis of the 2024 Provincial Budget. They have focused on its positive and negative implications for municipalities. Some of the highlights include: $730 million to increase EMS system capacity and implement recommendations from the Alberta EMS Provincial Advisory Committee; significant funds have been allocated for natural disaster preparation, including $125 million over five years for the Renewed Flood and Drought Mitigation Grant Program, $19 million over three years for the Strategy to Increase Water Availability, and $151 million over three years to improve wildfire readiness. Council passed a motion to accept the Alberta Municipalities Analysis of Provincial Budget as information.

· Assessment and Taxation Discussion: The town has received the preliminary property assessment numbers. Compared to last year’s assessments, residential has increased by roughly $2.2 million, non-residential has decreased dramatically by about $3.9 million, designated industrial property stayed relatively the same, machinery and equipment increased by about $26,000, and linear assessments have increased by roughly $250,000. When taken together, assessments are down $1.2 million. Council passed a motion to accept the assessment and taxation discussion as information.

CAO Report

· Blue Ridge Lumber is logging a small area directly northwest of town to assist with the community’s fire reduction strategy. The province requested this to reduce the wildfire hazard.

· Administration continues working with the accountant (auditor) on the 2023 financial statement preparation.

· The provincial budget was released on February 28.

· The CAO attended a provincial budget call with Minister McIver on February 28.

· The CAO attended a provincial budget webinar with Alberta Municipalities on March 1.

· Municipal flags have been lowered for the death of former prime minister Brian Mulroney until the day of his funeral.

· The Request For Quote (RFQ) for the new fire department pumper engine has been posted. It will close in early April.

· The CAO and Mayor will attend the RMA Spring Conference with Big Lakes County in Edmonton on March 18-20.

· Working on the year-end Safety Codes Council audit, which is due at the end of March.

· Administration has started to work on the final budget and taxation preparations.

Operations And Infrastructure

· The Reservoir upgrade project will resume on March 25 and should result in total project completion before the end of April.

· Operations is awaiting the replacement tanks for the Water Treatment Plant microfiltration system.

· The ice will be removed from the arena after March 15, and end-of-season maintenance should be completed by mid-April.

· Public Works will be working on culvert clearing for the next couple of weeks as the temperature rises.

Protective Services

· There were 4 Fire Department calls for the month of February 2024.

· FireSmarting around the town is still in progress.

· The Swan Hills Fire Department (SHFD) has put an RFQ out to tender a Pumper Engine.

· The Director of Emergency Management and SHFD continue to prepare for wildfire season.

Reports

· Mayor Wilson attended the Alberta Seniors and Community Housing Association convention in Calgary. 

· Councillors Krawiec, Kuyek and LaBerge reported attending the Economic Development Committee meeting on March 11. They have received quotes on making 4′ X 8′ signs of the tourism map to post at the tourist booth and the three highway entry points to Swan Hills. The signs will be $595 per sign. The EDC approved up to $4,000 for the signs, signposts, and installation.

· Councillor Kuyek reported attending Swancicle Days over the weekend. It was a fantastic event and well attended.

By Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 20, 2024 at 16:32

This item reprinted with permission from   Grizzly Gazette   Swan Hills, Alberta

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