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Municipal Council Council goes through 2015 audit report

posted Dec 18, 2017, 8:46 AM by Kathy Carr
It was not the most stimulating of presentations, but it was what council needed to see. Council was guided, page by page, through the 41 page draft audit statement. Candace Turc­hinski, of MNP Ltd. was leading the presentation, pointing out the purpose of each schedule of the 2015 audit report. The December meeting of the North Cypress-Langford council was held on January 11, with all council in attendance.
The lateness of the report had been of some concern to councils, because it made them ineligible for some grants. Much of the problem is the complicated system that sees North Cypress-Langford paying bills between the two municipalities, and these bills being split in half so that the Town of Carberry pays their half. Because there are so many double entries between both the municipalities and also the boards that are jointly operated, there is much scope for error. 
In addition, 2015 was the first year that Lang­ford amalgamated, and a lot of things, such as water billing, came into the picture. Turc­hinski noted that there were a few innovations that could be made with the municipal bookkeeping system which would show wrong or missed transactions immediately. In addition, she noted that there would be an employee (a former municipal CAO) that would be assigned to deal with NCL questions, and should give them much better service. CAO Jones noted that with changes in MNP personnel, they were being asked to find the same information, sometimes three times – and hoped that with this one person dealing with their questions, that would not happen.
Turchinski regretted the lateness of the report, and noted that it affects their reputation. 
The 2016 audit is nicely started, but they hope to have it done mid-year, which would put them right up to date.
On the up-side, the audit for 2015 shows the municipality in very good financial shape. 

Firdale dumpsters 
to be gone!
Sanitation manager Grady Stephenson atten­ded in regards to the Firdale dumpsters. He was looking for an alternate location for the dumpsters, or making a one-day open transfer station to be located somewhere in that area. He felt that to pay someone for one day per week would be more economical than dealing with the problems they are having now.
Part of the problem with those dumpsters, is that they are to the side of the rural road, and there is no one able to watch them. They noted that Wurtz has done a great job of keeping them clean and looking after them, but they still are filled with such things as fence posts, rolls of barbed wire and engine blocks – on a regular basis.
Another problem is that these dumpsters are being used by persons from outside the municipality. For some North Norfolk residents, these are considerably closer than driving to Mac­Gregor.
Council looked at the map. They noted that for Firdale residents to take their garbage to Edrans, is a trip of five to nine miles. Councillor Camp­bell noted that he takes his garbage nine miles to his nearest dumpster. 
Council made a decision to move the dumpsters from the Firdale site and install some of them at Edrans – as of January 8. They will not remove the fence until springtime.

Public Works
David Chandler, Public Works Foreman, attended with an update of how things were going. He also questioned council about the two-way radios, “Do we need them?” 
The radios are bulky and take up room in the cabs of their machinery. Many never use them. The Langford radios are not tuned to the North Cypress radios – and Councillor Drayson noted that they “needed to be fixed up.” Chandler noted that to fix up or replace all the units could be at least $10,000.
Reeve Adriaansen noted that there are dead spots where the cell phones do not work – do the radios work there? Chandler noted that the radios do not work everywhere either. The young employees tend to use only their cellphones for communication.
Council instructed Chandler to visit Imperial Radio and get a firm idea and price on what is needed to be done, if they decide to keep using the radios.
In other business, Chandler discussed the request from a ratepayer to have a road closed. The road does not go anywhere, and the wet spots in the road mean that people driving through end up damaging hay crop, while avoiding the holes. The other option would be to build the road up.
Planner McEntee and council agreed that a road should not be closed unless “absolutely necessary.”  However, they felt they could give the person permission to place a gate on the road allow­ance and post a “No Through Road” sign.
Chandler went on to question the 2018 road improvement grants. He noted two roads that had sections that should be rebuilt: the Harte Rd. and Road 69; also on the list were the Melbourne Rd. and Carberry Trail. Carberry Trail has become quite flat and wide – partly blamed on heavy traffic going to McCain’s and also ADM.
Asked what his “wish list” is for the municipality, he noted one more set of packers, a crew cab truck, and a tractor for the Neepawa end.

RCMP visit
Sgt Mark Morehouse of the Spruce Plains Detachment, servicing the Langford portion of the municipality, attended with a report on that area of the detachment. While Reeve Adriaansen asked him to diffuse the rumour that the farmyard thefts are much worse, Morehouse noted that it is worse.
While at one time, thefts occurred usually only immediately after harvest time, they are now happening during other times of the year. He agreed that locking isn’t always a deterrent, and that some thieves come with a ‘shopping list’ – certain items, or parts of certain vehicle models. He did warn that if you found thieves on your property, do not chase them past your own property. They could have firearms, and you could end up being charged.
Asked about drugs, he stated that meth is common in the rural areas, as is oxycontin. When the question of marijuana was discussed, he noted that he wished that the police had been contacted prior to making it available to the public. They are still developing tests to detect marijuana, so they can charge impaired drivers. Asked, “What if they have a prescription?” for the drug, he noted that even if you do have a prescription, you should not be driving.
Staffwise, the Spruce Plains Detachment has lost four personnel in a short period of time, three NCOs. However they are expecting one NCO coming from Killarney, as soon as his house is sold.
This shortage of persons has meant that plans to co-ordinate with the Natural Resources Dept. regarding night hunting, did not take place.
Asked about the usefulness of trail cameras, he had praise for them. They make a difference. Also discussed were vehicles that do not slow down when passing vehicles stopped at the side of the road. Many officers now go to the passenger side of the car, just because of the danger involved with being on the traffic side.

Other business
Council held a conditional use hearing to hear the application of Stu Briese to subdivide his 5.97 acre yardsite from the balance of SW 25-14-15. Council had no complaints or objections to the application, so, after closing the hearing, gave it approval.
Council accepted the tender of Rob Smith & Son to supply and install 4000 meters of pressure pipeline, to service connections and related appurtenances, for a price of $96,810. This will be paid partly by Water Services, and partly by the ratepayers.
From the joint council meeting, council agreed to purchase one LifePak Express Semi-Automatic AED machine and case, at the cost of $1195 and $295 for the case. Because this is portable, it will be available to be onsite for events within the municipality (e.g. Wellwood ball tournament).
A letter was received from a ratepayer that rents out her land, and complaining about the amount of school taxes on her property. Council will reply by letter that they have no control over the amount of school taxes.
Council added a charge for dust control, which was unpaid, to taxes ($500). They also added an uncollected charge for roofing ($1631) to a collection agency.
Council discussed setting up a workshop in regards to their shelterbelt program. The re­bate of up to $750 per mile of shelterbelt (which includes the first year of maintenance) is a good deal for farmers and also for the municipality.
A ‘thank you’ was received from the Plowing Association.
AMM sent out a survey in regards to cannabis legalization. As there are very few retail sites in the municipality, the NCL does not think it will be having sales of the drug.
Council were invited to the Christmas Open House for Eileen Clarke and Robert Sopuck in Gladstone.
The by-law setting up the wards for 2018 will not be given final reading until after a public hearing.
Prior to adjournment, accounts paid by cheque and direct deposit, totalling 7,883,911.15 (this includes a re-issue of a school tax payment) were approved for payment. Next meeting will be January 8, and the next joint meeting will be January 22.

by Gloria Mott
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