Westwind Weekly News
Although the region hasn’t been hit as hard by flooding as other southern Alberta municipalities, one couple in Stirling spoke to council about water drain flooding in their backyard.
Amanda and Robert Palin presented their concerns to council at its April 18 meeting.
“Their property is in a very low-lying area of the village and the back portion of their yard is actually below the ditch where the water needs to flow,” said Mayor Trevor Lewington.
“The ditch that runs along Highway 845 is slightly higher, so, of course, the water needs to build up in their backyard before it can flow into the ditch.”
Because the ditch is on the highway, it falls under Alberta Transportation’s jurisdiction.
“It’s a highway easement, so we can’t just dig the ditch to be deeper,” said Lewington.
However, village administration is exploring its available options.
“There’s potentially the opportunity to put a berm in, or do some other earth moving, but fundamentally the back portion of their yard … is well below the level of everything around, so that’s just naturally where the water pools,” the mayor said.
Village moving forward with 2018 municipal census
The village has decided to conduct a municipal census this year, even though it last conducted one in 2017.
Lewington said municipal censuses are typically conducted every two years.
“It’s helpful, because a lot of grants are based on per capita information and it just helps us plan better and know our numbers,” he said.
“It was budgeted for, so it’s a normal expense.”
The village wants to be prepared in case any additional funding opportunities arise this year, with impending changes to some provincial grant programs.
“The province is looking at different funding models,” said Lewington.
“MSI (Municipal Sustainability Initiative) is changing and we want to make sure we have the most up-to-date information in case we need it.”
Tax Rate Bylaw passes third reading
Council passed the final reading of its Tax Rate Bylaw, which establishes a one per cent municipal property tax increase.
“It basically sets the mill rates and allows administration to issue property tax notices,” Lewington said.
The one per cent hike is in addition to the increases levied on the village by the province for its Alberta Education and Seniors Requisition Funds.
The municipal tax hike is meant to keep the village’s tax base up with the rate of inflation, as well as other non-provincial requisitions, such as the Chinook Arch Regional Library, which increased by two per cent.
“We’re actually doing pretty good to hold our increase to only one per cent,” said Lewington.
“We’re having to continue finding efficiencies and to reduce costs to hold taxes there.”