By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
Bylaw, firearms authorization, and the Town of Castor ‘snowbird’ policy were a few of the items discussed during the Jan. 13th council meeting.
Council has passed Bylaw 1071, the ‘Operational Borrowing Bylaw.’
The bylaw is a requirement for municipalities under the Municipal Government Act if they need to borrow operational funds during the year, which can happen before tax rolls start getting collected.
Having the bylaw in place allows financial institutions to extend a line-of-credit to the municipality. In this case, Bylaw 1071 will allow the Town to borrow up to $1.5 million from Alberta Treasury Branch, at an interest rate of Prime minus 0.25 per cent, if required.
Also discussed during the meeting was the authorization of staff to use firearms within the limits of the municipality, which are considered an exemption to Bylaw 1033 which prohibits the discharge of firearms in the community.
In the case of the bylaw, a ‘firearm’ is defined as “any barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged and that is capable of causing bodily injury or death to a person.”
The Town infrequently uses firearms, such as pellet rifles, for pest control in the community.
Under authority of the bylaw, council has authorized Christopher Robblee, Arajan Van Hienen, Weston Gibson, Brett Pendleton, Robert Pilsworth, and Matthew Cox to use firearms if required to do so in carrying out their duties.
Any uses of a firearm within the Town limits must be approved in advance by the Coronation RCMP and the Chief Administrative Officer.
Finally, the Town of Castor Snowbird Policy was reviewed by council.
The policy allows residents of the community who will be absent for an extended period to suspend their services such as water and gas and pay a reduced rate while they are away.
There is a $50 disconnection and re-connection fee when water and gas are turned off, however this saves the resident around $50 a month if just water is disconnected, or around $60 if water and gas are both disconnected.
The service is only applicable if the homeowner will be away from their home for an extended absence, and aside from the ‘Snowbird Policy,’ residents are not able to disconnect services or parts of services.
“I think the costs for doing this are low in this climate,” said Mayor Richard Elhard.
The rest of council agreed, and CAO Robblee has been directed to check into what other communities are doing and bring back fee suggestions or change recommendations to a subsequent meeting.
Other highlights of the council meeting;
• Council has approved the payment of $322.32 to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for membership in 2020. The County has also retained their membership with FCM.
• As a gas corporation and a part of the Alberta Gas Federation, Castor will be undergoing an audit in 2020. Additionally, the Alberta Gas Federation is updating the Operations & Maintenance Manual used by the Town, changing a number of policies and procedures. There will be a possible, but yet unknown, cost to bring the community into compliance prior to the audit.
• Both compressors at the arena are down, but due to the frigid temperatures the ice is being maintained. Startec will be coming out to perform repairs.
• Town administration and council were informed via a letter from Alberta Health Services that Helicopter Emergency Medical Services is under review in the province. CAO Robblee has a meeting scheduled with Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital Administration to talk about the ways the municipality can help the hospital meet the requirements for helicopter operations set out by Alberta Health Services.