Darwell Elementary School Grade Six Students come to learn about Municipal Government
The grade six social studies curriculum provides children with the opportunity to develop an understanding of how Alberta’s local and provincial governments are formed, how the rights of Albertans are protected and how democracy allows people to influence change in their communities. As part of their studies of this important piece of the curriculum, Darwell Elementary School’s Grade Six Students visited the County Office on April 26th. During their visit, they had the opportunity to learn about many municipal functions including community policing, fire services, agriculture, community services and observe their Council during a meeting. Students roleplayed as elected officials, conducting a short mock meeting of their own, and asked lots of questions about the governance of the municipality of both Council and Administration. The County thoroughly enjoyed hosting the group and was very impressed with the effort they’ve made to learn about local government.
County Strengthens Clubroot Policy
Clubroot is a serious soil-borne disease of crucifer crops including field crops such as canola and mustard. Most varieties of canola, mustard and cole crop vegetables currently being grown in Alberta are highly susceptible to clubroot. This disease is capable of significantly reducing yield and quality, and may destroy a crop if infestation levels are high. Clubroot is especially problematic because the pathogen persists in soil for many years, and cannot be controlled with crop protection products. Clubroot has the potential to be a significant threat to crops in our region if not properly managed. County Council has approved a new Clubroot Policy, affirming the recommendations of Lac Ste. Anne County's Agricultural Services Board (ASB) who drafted the revised policy. The policy aligns with best management practices to protect our region from the threat of infestation.
2018 Operating and Capital Budgets Approved
At the Council meeting on April 26, 2018, County Council approved the 2018 Operating and Capital Budgets as well as the Operating Forecasts (2019-2020) and Capital Plan (2019-2027) presented earlier in the month. The budget estimated municipal expenditures (excluding non-cash items) at $33,546,275, a 14% decrease from 2017. The approved Budget Report can be found in the Finance section of the County website. The report contains highlights of new initiatives, individual department forecasts, the approved 2018 capital projects and the balance of the high-level ten-year capital plan.
Council Sets 2018 Tax Rates
Following the approval of the 2018 Budget, Council provided a final reading to the 2018 Tax Rate Bylaw. The bylaw requires a 2.25% increase in property tax rates for all property classes, raising the residential mill rate to 4.488 from the 2017 value of 4.389 mills. The impact to the average $350,000 residential home from this rate change will be approximately $35.00. Please remember that there are several components to your overall tax bill. Lac Ste. Anne County does not have the ability to control changes in the Education Property Tax Requisition (School Tax) or the Lac Ste. Anne Foundation Requisition (Seniors Housing Tax). Additionally, changes to the assessed value of your property will affect the overall tax bill. The formula in this article is only meant to estimate the impact of changes to the municipal property tax portion of your property tax bill. The 2018 Property Tax Bylaw is posted in the Bylaws & Policies section of the County website for those interested in reviewing the document.
Athabasca Watershed Council & Lac Ste. Anne Foundation Present to Council
On April 26, 2018, Council received presentations from both the Athabasca Watershed Council and the Lac Ste. Anne Foundation. The Athabasca Watershed Council (AWC) was providing information on the AWC, the work it does to protect this important watershed and invite Council to appoint a representative to the Watershed Planning and Advisory Council for the Athabasca Watershed Council. More information about the Council and its efforts to keep the Athabasca River watershed ecologically healthy, socially responsible, and economically sustainable can be found on their website at www.awc-wpac.ca. The Lac Ste. Anne Foundation provides adequate and suitable low-cost housing to seniors and low-income households, in the Foundation’s communities. Council requested the Lac Ste. Anne Foundation provide a presentation to increase their knowledge about the services they provide in our communities and areas where municipal governments may be able to improve services options to our region. More information about this community based organization can be found on their website at www.lsaf.ca.
Please note that the highlights presented here are for information only, and that Council Minutes are the official and authoritative record of the decisions of Council. The Council Minutes are posted to the Agendas & Minutes Section of the County website following a motion to accept the minutes at the following Council Meeting; a process that takes approximately two weeks.