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Town Council -“If it saves one life – it will be worth it”

posted Jan 18, 2016, 8:22 AM by Kathy Carr   [ updated Jan 18, 2016, 8:25 AM ]
A request from a ratepayer for a tax break on an empty Main Street building turned into a discussion regarding what to do to encourage downtown development. Carberry Town Council met on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, with Mayor Stuart Olmstead and all council in attendance.
A letter from B. Graham requested a long term tax break on the building that he purchased, and is in the process of renovating, but must have a business presence as per town by-laws. Council's response was to first go to the Assessment Branch and prove that the value of the building is not what the assessment is, and ask for a reduction. Council will provide a letter of support in that matter.
Councillor B. Anderson stated that he was not opposed to offering some tax relief to owners who are unable to find businesses to take over their buildings. He felt that it could be an incentive to persons who are actively seeking to bring businesses into the community.
Councillor J. Anderson said “If we are going to restrict what owners could do with their property and they have trouble with it, we should be willing to help if we could.”
Councillor MacGregor spoke passionately about what could or should be done, and the roles that the council and the EDO can play. She also felt that if a tax break could remove a stumbling block from a person considering purchase or development, then they should look at it. Olmstead agreed that they should look at making a policy, and research what other communities have done.

By-laws
By-law #2/2015, regarding sewer rates must be redone as the applications for the PUB have been changed. This has been on the go since early 2015, and it may be another year before it is done.
By-law #7/2015, regarding the fireline debenture is on a provincial desk and waiting for a signature. Once the paperwork is returned, then the bank will release the money to pay for the firelines. CAO Jones is concerned about this, as the expenses have been paid, but there is no way to speed up the process.
By-law #9/2015, authorizing a change in remuneration for council members was given third reading and became law.

Other business
Council had some discussion re Datalink. As the RM is updating their road grid numbers and house addresses, the town has an opportunity to have a street index atlas for the town. Done with the RM, this will cost $250.
CAO Jones felt that these maps could be very useful for the office. The town agreed to have this done.
They also had some discussion on Code Red – the program that can notify residents in the case of emergencies, but also for more mundane items. Council agrees that it would be a very useful tool for public works. Councillor J. Anderson spoke of meeting with the council member from Morden, who wouldn’t stop gushing about how well it worked when they had a tornado.
Olmstead noted that “if it saves one life – it will be worth it.”
There will be a class for public works, excavation and trenching. Jones sought to have three public works employees enrolled in the program in April. Council agreed.

New Year business
An interim operating budget, based on previous year’s expenses was presented to council and passed. This gives the municipality the authority to conduct business and pay expenses until the ‘real’ budget is passed.
They also renewed their memberships in Association of Manitoba Municipalities, the Carberry and District Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Grand Valley Mutual Aid, the Manitoba Municipal Administrators Association, the Manitoba Association of Fire Chiefs, and the Southwest Trails Association for Regional Tourism.
The designation of the tax sale year was given as 2015. This means that properties that were in arrears in 2015 are liable to be in tax sale in 2016.
A donation of $200 was made to KidSport.
Currently, the payroll for both municipalities is done through “Payworks” which cost both municipalities almost $4,000 last year. Besides that, entries must be made into their software program (Munisoft) because the two programs are not compatible.
The office staff has done some research on the Munisoft payroll program. This will cost the municipalities about $1235 for the first year, and less after that. It will also mean that there will be no manual entering of the data – other than the initial entry, which will save time as well. Council agreed that this would be a good idea for 2017.
CAO Jones noted that both personnel committees would have to meet soon, as some contracts finish this year.
Share of general office expenses are to be discussed with the RM in the near future. As it has been over a year since the RM's have amalgamated, there should be an in-depth discussion between Council's as this has become a growing concern.

Around the table
Councillor J. Anderson noted that when Carberry Health Centre has no emergency open, there is no policy that the ambulance should not leave the Carberry area, unless it is an emergent call. He expressed frustration at being out on a call that left him out of the Carberry area for an extended period of time, with the nearest ambulance, should Carberry have a severe emergency, being in Minnedosa.
He felt that the Town of Carberry should ask Prairie Mountain Health for their policy on this matter. He felt that non-urgent calls, such as transfers, should not take the ambulance away from the community when there are no emergency services in Carberry. An hour is too long to wait if someone is having a heart attack or major medical emergency. Council was dismayed at this lack of proper logistics and will follow up with the RHA as to their current policy, if there is one at all.
He also has been attending the Refugee Committee meetings and updated council on their progress. There is a misconception that the Carberry Community Refugee Committee is an arm of the Town Council. This is not true. While council members may support this effort individually, the council does not support it financially.
The opening ceremonies for the provincial synchro skating event will be held on Saturday. Councillor Lin Mann will express a welcome from the Town of Carberry.
Prior to adjournment, accounts totalling $517,791.58 and direct deposits were approved for payment. A good portion of this amount was paid to the RM of North Cypress-Langford for the town’s half of shared expenses.
Next meeting will be Tuesday evening, February 9. A joint meeting will be held with the RM on January 25.
by Gloria Mott
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