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Municipality Council - 2016 Financial Plan passed

posted Apr 18, 2016, 10:53 AM by Kathy Carr
How far do councils go to support employment centres? The Westlake Employment Skills and Services Centre visited the Municipality of North Cypress-Langford council on Monday, April 11, to plead for additional funding. Reeve Bob Adriaansen chaired the meeting, the first since the meeting date has been changed from the second Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. to the second Monday at that time. 
A drop in federal funding (they prefer to fund projects now, rather than operations) and a change of venue that is more expensive has left this Neepawa-based centre about $20,000 short in their ability to operate. Dividing that shortfall into the numbers of clients from each municipality, gave them the figure of $2480, which the delegation requested from North Cypress-Langford (for 62 clients).
The delegation, consisting of Employment Services Manager, Nancy Jo Moller and Board representatives, Loren Huck and Yvonne Ferguson.  Huck spoke about this downloading of funding, and its implications to the service. The employees have been cutback to .9 from full time. 
N. Moller gave a long list of their services, including hosting Services Canada one day per week, along with the various employment helps and skills training. Council did not doubt that is a valuable service to Neepawa and surrounding municipalities, and believed the success stories that Moller related.
Council questioned whether the former Langford office in Neepawa could be rented, and save Westlake some operational costs, but the office must be wheelchair accessible. (This lead to a discussion about making the Neepawa Courthouse more accessible – and rentable, by installing an elevator.)
Council also had concerns as to what extent municipalities should be taking up the slack when higher levels of government back off from their support. There is also the concern that with similar services in Carberry serving the south end of the municipality, that there would be an obligation to extend the same level of support there.
Council deferred a decision while they seek more information.
Council also discussed the Langford material in storage at the old office. With the list of what material should be kept, how long it should be kept, and what should be sent to the archives, Davidson, who is on the County Court Committee, noted that if the materials were cleared out, the space could be prepared for rental, possibly making the building self-sufficient.
Planner John McEntee was on hand as the meeting started with conditional use and variation hearings.  J & B Sawatsky were in attendance as the couple wishes to locate a residence on pt 24-11-13. There are two (approx.) 40 acre parcels, and they wish to subdivide ten acres off the south parcel for a residence, and a 15 metre strip off the north lot, for a laneway (access). 
Because it is an 80 acre agricultural zone, the subdivision requires a conditional use for non-farm dwelling sites, and a variation for the size of the lots.
Sawatsky has taken the initiative to start on a driveway and Foreman Chandler has looked at the site and there will be enough area for a turnaround.
There were two proposals to subdivide that are situated at the north end of the municipality. In the first, J. & A. McCaughan wish to subdivide 3.05 acres adjacent property (SE 14-14-15) to their own belonging to S. Briese to consolidate with their own to allow for a septic field. A field requires a minimum of two acres. The subdivision was ‘squared off’ to a rectangle for land description purposed. Council gave approval to the proposal.
In the second subdivision proposal, Altus Geomatics have applied to sever 10.15 acres from NW 26-14-15 (R. Sumner) to create an agro centre for the Neepawa-Gladstone Co-op. The parcel will be serviced by a holding tank.
This parcel is adjacent to an existing leased area where the Co-op has an anhydrous site. There will be shared access with that site.
The office building is proposed to be 3000 sq. ft, with a 60x80 storage building. These agricultural businesses are a conditional use in the Agricultural-Livestock Operation Restricted Zone.
Council gave approval to the application with the condition that a conditional use order be sought for non-hazardous bulk or bag storage and a shared access agreement, and approval by Highways.
2016 Financial Plan
Council convened as a public meeting, although not one ratepayer attended to express interest in the finances of the municipality.
Financial Officer, Teresa McConnell spent some time with Council going over the 2016 financial plan (budget). Overall revenues in 2015 were around $4.2 million and expenses, $4.03 million, projecting a surplus of $177,992 for the year. For now, this is in nominal surplus. 
Some of the changes, such as the removal of the business tax, caused a reduction, but other areas increased. Overall, the millrate should be unchanged, but ratepayers will see an increase in their tax bill due to an increase in school taxes.
Ideally, North Cypress and Langford rates will move to being the same, and there was some movement in that area.
They spent some time looking at the financial situation in regards to the Recreation Districts. There is a $60,000 allotment from each municipality that is going to a reserve in the Community Foundation for large capital expenditures or for expensive renovations. Plus there are levies toward recreation for operational funding.
The public meeting closed, and once McConnell confirmed the Whitemud Watershed Conservation District numbers, a resolution passed confirming that the document presented “Be and Is” the 2016 financial plan.  Council then gave second and third readings to the financial plan by-law.
Other business
The resolutions from the joint council meeting were passed: a grant of $600 towards the Potato Truck Pull (shared with the Town of Carberry); Keith Loney to attend the weed supervisors’ conference in Russell (joint with the town); that council agrees to be a silver sponsor of the McCain Clear Lake Golf Classic, $2000 (50/50 with the Town of Carberry). There was discussion about who would benefit from the free entrance to the tournament, and Don Hockin will attend. They also accepted the quote from J&G Supply for the flooring and installation in the old Municipal Office ($7882, plus taxes).
The garbage in Langford is still picked up and hauled by TAC Ventures. While this could probably be done more cheaply if it was incorporated with the Carberry and North Cypress end routes, there are benefits to leaving it with the private hauler. More than once, TAC Ventures has provided services for the rest of the municipality when our truck has been out of commission. Council agreed to continue with the contract with TAC for another year.
The Handivan Audit is returned, and there seems to be no concerns. Councillor Tolton took it to review.
Two accounts, totalling almost $18,000 were added to taxes. One was a large demolition bill.
There will be a water meter update/training session on May 4. T. Fraser and CAO Jones will attend, along with Foreman Chandler and Councillors Drayson, Davidson and Hockin. In response to the question, “How many hook-ups are available,”  Councillor Drayson commented that there were 10-15 that were allotted to be hooked up to the Neepawa water system. There was discussion about whether a contractor could hook up his own line. Councillor Drayson felt that there still should be quotes got for the job, even if the person does his own hookup.
This lead to a question about establishing a policy in regards to hook-ups. In some cases, when directional boring is involved, there is only one contractor that can do the job. However, Drayson felt that all hook-ups should have two quotes. Should they all be advertised, then? This could be very cumbersome. A policy will be drafted so that administration can know how to deal with these applications.
The Fire Agreement with Neepawa is being revamped. The old formula is being turfed and an agreement (cost-shared based on calls) being proposed. Unfortunately, the new formula puts the cost at $7,000 more than was passed in the budget.
Council did get a fire report from Neepawa that detailed all the calls into the Langford side of the municipality. It showed 13 calls in February, eight calls in March; one control burn and one false alarm to the Municipality. 
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Council also got a report from the Carberry/North Cypress Fire Dept. that showed two false alarms, and six motor vehicle accidents. Both Departments took part in the search for the child at Austin.
Council had some qualms about the new formula. They did agree that some very large businesses have a much higher risk of depleting resources should there be a fire. In the end, they agreed with the formula, but requested that there be a representative from North Cypress-Langford on the board.
The dust control policy between the two councils was reviewed. Some members of council feel that as farm properties must pay to have the dust control agent spread in front of their properties, that when it is done in the hamlets, such as Brookdale and Wellwood, that those residents should pay for that. Previously it was spread on the gravel streets in those places at no charge.
The prices are increased (there were two thoughts as to how much: 2¢ per litre, or 25%). They set the rate for the 200 feet in front of residences at $250. 
Meetings to discuss dust control have been set for April 27th in Brookdale and April 28th in Wellwood.
The policy was set for distribution of the chemical. In the Langford side, it will be done with one double pass. On the North Cypress side, it will be done with two passes. 
Reeve Adriaansen pointed out that it is too late to make big changes this year. He also warned that changing the policy in the communities may be more trouble than the amount of revenue it will generate.
For this year, the policy will be as before, because there is not enough time to change it.
Financial officer talked to council about investing money. There is a sum of money sitting in reserves (and money that was previously invested by former councils) that is doing nothing to earn interest. Council chose to invest $2 million of that money in a “ladder” type investment, which matures $400,000 each year, for five years, at a considerably better rate than sitting in a chequing account. The money in Westoba Credit Union can be retrieved as needed.
This will put an extra $47,600 in the coffers over the next five years.
T. Lessard requested that he be able to build a road from Highway 5 to allow access to his property on SE 6-10-14. He will remove brush and trees and build the road up to a machinery road standard.
When councils build a road, the policy is that the ratepayer pays 50% of the first half-mile; 75% of the second half-mile; and 100% of anything beyond that. This is not “written in stone” but a guideline for council.
Edrans Cemetery requested a grant of $1800 to cover the cost of mowing. Council felt this was a substantial increase from last year, but it appears someone will be hired to do it, while in the past it has been volunteers. They agreed.
Council hired Jim Nagorski as a full-time seasonal employee and set his wage.
Environment and Climate Change Canada sent information on a recovery strategy for prairie skink.
TransCanada Pipeline forwarded an amendment to their existing application to the National Energy Board. Council had previously offered their support for TCP’s pipeline projects.
Neepawa 4-H requested sponsorship of their 4-H Beef Show. Council turned this down, but referred it to the Langford Recreation District.
Langford has had a tipping fee, for demolition and building waste, of $75 per tonne, for anything over 300 kg. This will be instituted across the municipality.
Brookdale Community Centre is having to upgrade water lines and electrical. The water lines are almost fully occluded. Council questioned how much the project would cost and learned that tendering is in place.
Around the table
R. Drayson attended the Mixed Curling Banquet. He noted that the SRDC is still working on the gasification project.
H. Tolton noted he had received several requests. A date will be set for a road tour, so that projects can be prioritized. The washboarding will have to wait until the weather improves.
D. Hockin noted that he had attended the Vet Board meeting and all seems to be going okay. There is a big list of ‘wants’ for the Vet Clinic, and the Grand Opening is slated for April 29.
Prior to adjournment, accounts totalling $195,931.62 plus direct deposits were approved for payment. Next RM Council meeting will be on May 9; there will be a joint meeting with the Town of Carberry on May 2.

By Gloria Mott