Here is an update regarding a few items of interest:
1. Covid-19 cases in the community and related updates
a) There are presently 6 active cases of Covid-19 in the Cardston County-Kainai area. All tracing regarding these cases is being done to inform those who may have been infected. We do not have further details as to the precise location of these cases. Knowing their precise location may heighten our awareness, however we all need to carry on following Alberta Health recommendations regarding physical distancing and hand washing and sanitizing. Please stay vigilant to avoid Covid-19 community transmission. To those who are afflicted, we wish you a strong recovery. Thank you to all our Emergency Personnel, Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Ambulance personnel and care givers who are working on the frontline during this pandemic. We appreciate your valuable services.
b) The Emergency Coordination Committee continues to be debriefed on a regular basis. I want to thank our CAO, Jeff Shaw for his strong leadership in creating our sub-committees and in keeping the information flowing back to the Coordination Committee. These sub-committees allow for best practices and relevant information to be shared. It is also a vehicle to seek answers to a variety of problems, needs and issues. Thank you to you all and to all the volunteers who participate actively in fighting Covid-19.
c) For your information, our community volunteers have delivered nearly 300 masks to our senior care facilities and temporary shelters in the Town and Blood Tribe community. A big thank you the Hutterite Colony, the Quilters’ guild, and the Relief Societies’ sisters as well as to the numerous other helpers out there.
d) As you may have noticed, the Town Council is currently meeting virtually for our Council and Committee meetings. Meetings are still recorded by Corey Mc Carthy for Channel 32 and are available on You-Tube and on our Town website. Even though our meetings are virtual, the public is still invited to attend and participate. The Mayor or the Deputy Mayor are in the Chambers moderating the virtual meeting. There are chairs set up at a safe distance in the Council room, or anyone can call in and listen to the meeting as well. Please call the office if you would like more information on how to participate.
2. Recreation and other Town owned facilities.
a) Golf Course
Last week, my release seemed to have unsettled our golfing community. My apologies. As our CAO made it very clear, the grounds were just not ready to welcome the golfers. Now a bit of good news: The Golf Course is open, however golfers will need to strictly follow the Alberta Health Services’ protocols in place at the Golf Course . Kudos to our golf manager, his crew and to all the volunteers who worked hard to prepare the grounds.
b) Swimming Pool
Due to restriction on gathering and issues with need of constant disinfection of all surfaces and of the water, we are not optimistic about the opening of the pool this year. If we cannot open at all, we understand the disappointment of many, but to keep ourselves safe, we need to follow Alberta Health’s ruling in this matter.
c) Baseball fields
Here again, it is difficult to disinfect the dugouts every time someone touches them. The town cannot accommodate formal leagues on the baseball fields because we cannot have Parks & rec staff on hand at all times when the fields could be used. We ask you to follow those guidelines to protect your health and safety.
d) Tennis Courts
As of now, the Tennis Courts will remain closed. We may reassess the situation in the foreseeable future.
These will need to remain closed as we do not have the capacity to disinfect surfaces and make them safe for our children. Remember that children may be asymptomatic but transmit the virus if infected.
f) Core Services
We wish to reassure the public that our core services are being delivered normally. Services such as water, wastewater, garbage pickup etc are still happening on normal schedule by our staff who are currently all healthy.
3. 2020-2021 Budget and Mill rate
This coming Tuesday, Council will pass the 2020-2021 budget. Our Financial department and our CAO have worked hard to present a budget that reflects the wishes of Council, having the taxpayer in mind. Due to the Covid-19, there are still many unknown regarding recreation revenues and expenses. Our financial team has done its best to adjust the numbers.
The mill rate has been accepted by Council and will be formalized this coming Council meeting. A challenge for us this year was how to manage the policing costs passed on to us by the Province. We have taken some funding out of our long term reserves to offset inflation and most of the policing costs. Council has done their best to keep the Mill rate in line with past years, although a slight increase was necessary.
4. Debenture and borrowing
Council and administration have been dealing with a most difficult situation with regular breaks in our Sewer Outfall line. Engineers have looked at all possible reasons for these repeated breaks but it remains to all as mysterious as ever. The town has explored all options including legal action, repairs, redesign etc, but in the end our best option will be to replace the failing section with superior pipe and equipment. To remedy to this situation, the Town needs to take on a debenture in the amount of $615,000 and will hold a public hearing regarding this matter this upcoming Tuesday, May 12 prior to passing the Bylaw. If you would like more information, please call the town office at 403 653 3366.
We are grateful for the reserves we have that will help us defray the cost of this high capital expenditure.
It is always a pleasure to serve you. Stay safe and be healthy.