By Heather Cameron
For Westwind Weekly News
During the Town of Raymond’s May 19 council meeting Joyce Logan appeared before council to address her concerns on the increased minimum tax for vacant and improved properties, residents approached council with suggestions for improvements in the area of 300 North and 300 West
Tax concerns lead to speaking out
Local resident Joyce Logan came before Council having heard that a minimum of $1000 would be the tax rate for empty lots and was deeply concerned due to the fact that she and her husband are not currently able to build on the lot. Logan emphasized that most seniors would like to stay in their homes, but taxes are making that unaffordable.
Mayor Bohne replied that tax rates are based on a yearly assessment of homes and if the assessment is lower, the taxes should be lower and said that the minimum tax amount for vacant properties is $800 while the minimum rate for improved properties is $1000, which concerned Logan, as she and her husband are currently unable to build on the vacant lot.
Logan also mentioned that someone has been stealing water from her residence via a hose, as her water bill is somewhat higher than it should be and Bohne promised to look into the issue, as the possibility of a leak in an underground line with all the recent roadwork is very high and stated that Pam Searcy would talk to Administration while Counc. Needham suggested installing a shutoff device.
Residents suggest improvements
Richard and Lisa Worsey, Greg and Angela Lacey, and other residents situated in the area of 300 North and 300 West gathered as a delegation to offer suggestions for infrastructure improvements including reducers on the sewer pump lines due to the fact their sewer pumps keep breaking and maintaining the condition of gravel roads, and the need for maintenance of the culverts along 300 North.
“We’re all taxpayers and we expect nice roads,” Richard Worsey said. “When the gravel is put down, it doesn’t last.”
The reason for the poor condition of the roads, the delegation said, amounted to big-rig trucks using the road and also teenagers racing vehicles on the roads and across people’s properties. RCMP officers, according to the delegation, have been called and given out warnings.
Counc. Needham said that there had been discussions in the past about improving the roads, but residents wanted the improvements without having to pay extra for them. Mayor Bohne said that the gravel road has never been properly based and it should be and the issues concerning trucks using the roads will also need to be readdressed. The delegation expressed that they want to improve the area.
“The Northwest corner has a lot to give,” Angela Lacey, a member of the delegation, said. “Rather than see another development in Raymond, we’d like to see this area developed and look nice.”
Additionally, the delegation expressed their frustration that their concerns had not been previously heard after approaching a town employee with their concerns and they felt forgotten, but Mayor Bohne said that for any future issue, Scott Barton, not Town employees, should be contacted.
“Don’t ever feel like you’re bothering us too much,” Mayor Bohne said.
Counc. Robinson added that the challenge when contacting Town employees with issues, it sometimes drags on because the employees are not always in the loop, so contacting Scott Barton is best.
Sewage was also briefly discussed and taking that and the other issues into consideration, Mayor Bohne promised the delegation that Council would look into all the issues that were brought forth and get back to the delegation with a detailed letter
Amended Tax Rate approved
The amended Bylaw 1016-15, stating that the minimum tax amount for the designated Manufactured Home Community would be $400 instead of the $1000 minimum that surprised residents and led to a sudden emergency meeting was moved for first reading by Counc. Needham, unanimously approved, moved for second reading by Counc. Wolsey, again unanimously approved. Counc. Ralph moved for third reading and Counc. Holt moved to approve third reading. The amended bylaw was passed unanimously and the matter was thereby settled.
Up To Three Members of Town Council Invited to Tour St. Mary Irrigation District
Up to three members of Raymond Town Council were invited to a tour on July 29 at the St. Mary Irrigation District where the district will highlight how they operate and how the uses of water supplied by SMRID support the many aspects of landscape of Southern Alberta. Counc. Holt made the motion to approve sending two members of Council and the motion was unanimously approved.
Handi-Bus fundraiser On May 30
On May 30, the Raymond Mercantile will be holding a fundraiser for the Handibus in the form of selling hot dogs, pop, and chips that will be provided by the Mercantile. The fundraiser will also be held in June and information can be found at the Merc or on the Town marquee.