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Mayor's Letter to Citizens - March 2024

March 26 2024

Letter to citizens,

Spring is in the air but winter is still showing his face! Take advantage of the good weather and enjoy a bit more of winter fun with friends and family!

Today, I will just address a couple of bylaws that Council has been dealing with that will impact the budget and require a public hearing. I will also address the need for measures regarding water conservation.

Sewer Plant Update

Administration, Associated Engineering and Ministries of Transportation and Environment are working in collaboration to see the upgrade of our sewer plant move forward at a quicker pace. We will be retrofitting our sewer treatment system with a technology well established in Europe and Scandinavia but still fairly new in North America. Post covid, the cost of upgrade had ballooned up so much that our initial plans needed to be paused and a total rethink of the project became necessary. With strong advocacy from this Council and Administration, and a successful meeting between Minister McIver, Cllr Grainger and CAO Jeff Shaw, the Town has secured a substantial financial grant from the Government of Alberta. With this grant, the Town now has the capacity to leverage these revenues to apply for further grants and other financial support from various sources, all this in order to minimize the cost to the tax payer.

Of course such a project will require borrowing a large sum of money and establishing a line of credit to secure funding prior to start the project. Council has passed first reading for two by-laws dealing with borrowing. The public hearing will take place on the first meeting of the month of April. Please know that this Council will do their outmost to minimize the impact on taxation.

Golf Course Clubhouse update

The Clubhouse upgrade has been on the radar for many years now. Since covid, the Golf Course has attracted a significant amount of golfers from out of Town and has seen numerous local youth embrace this sport.

Revenues were significantly up. Meanwhile, capital expenditures in mowing equipment and the purchasing of new carts depleted much of the reserves originally earmarked for construction. All golfers recognize the beauty of the course, its design and location, but regret the lack of proper clubhouse amenities to enhance the golfing experience. Covid caused much delays regarding the clubhouse upgrade and Council needed to revisit their plans. At this point in time, this clubhouse project needs to move forward and be given an adequate funding model. Our golf Couse is a very special asset to the Town and needs to be kept up as with any other recreation facility owned by the Town in need of upgrade. To that effect, Council has chosen to borrow from their available debt limit while interests are still manageable and affordable. The realization of this project should start in the spring of 2024. This borrowing will also require a public hearing.

Our Public Hearings will take place on April shortly starting at 6:00 pm. We welcome your presence in our Council Chambers.

Solar Farm Project

The Solar Farm continues to be a good source of revenue for the Town. Up to date, since July 2020, we have realized a surplus of over $400,000.00, after repaying annual Principal and Interest to Enmax Energy with no impact for these costs on the taxpayer. Our loan is amortized over 15 years with at least a foreseeable 10 extra years of solid earnings free of debt. The Solar Farm is a good return on investment for the Town of Cardston. It is indeed a good news story!

Drought and Water Conservation

As you are all aware the drought situation in Alberta has become a matter of serious concern for all municipalities. At the municipal level, the government wants to see plans in place to mitigate the risk to all residents, farms and businesses.

Administration is doing their best to post much information on our website to help you understand the levels of restriction that we may be facing in weeks to come. We will seek your support to help us overcome this difficult situation. It will take much understanding and a lot of restraint but together we can make it!

Always at your service, Mayor Kronen

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