Valemount council: Tax rate, appointments

Valemount Council held their regularly scheduled meeting on May 12. Councilors Donnie Maclean, Pete Pearson, Sheri Gee and Hollie Blanchette were in attendance, Mayor Owen Torgerson presided.

Public Comments
Rashmi Narayan wrote a letter in support of council purchasing a newer backhoe. At the last meeting council had made a motion against the purchase in response to a letter by another resident.

Narayan also commented on the village’s healthy surplus and said the current surpluses should be brought to council when they make decisions about taxation rates.

Narayan said that judging art is not part of council’s responsibilities.

“Council’s role is to consider maintenance costs, public works considerations of maintenance and safety,” she said.

After reviewing a report from staff about the importance of the backhoe, council rescinded a motion to defer the purchase of the backhoe for another year unanimously.

The Valemount Farmers’ Market sought and received approval to place a temporary storage shed near the market.

Council received the Accounts Payable Report and Building Inspection report

“Nice to see that there is some business going on,” said Blanchette.

Council signed a one year lease with the Valemount Learning Centre to take over space from the Valemount College in the Community Services Building.

Council gave staff permission to sole-source a bulk water fill station and septage receiving station to Urban Systems.

“My understanding is that this is a unique product and there are not a lot of sources for this,” said Pearson.

Council approved appointing Jules Philip as a member and Sharon McKay as an alternate to the village housing committee.

Pearson asked whether the village would compensate the Simpcw representative for travelling to the meeting, or whether they would attend by teleconference.

Robinson said it’s a volunteer committee, so there are no expenses paid for travel.

“We could set up remote attendance if it was requested,” said Robinson.

Council briefly discussed making changes to their procedure bylaw to make electronic meeting attendance more flexible after the extraordinary rules that apply during COVID-19 lapse.

Council agreed to implement a rotating chair for the housing committee. Members will nominate a chair at each meeting for the following one.

Funky Goat was looking for leniency regarding street vendor fees. As it turns out the permit has a number of different options, including a 21-day operating license. The Goat would be able to operate 21 days, from end of May to August with a $200 license.

Council accepted their 2019 audited financial statements and passed their Five Year Financial Plan.

Council set the 2020 tax rate using legislative tools allowed during the global pandemic and passed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and the final reading all at a go. Torgerson noted this as unusual.

Staff explained the move in their report.

“Staff has delayed providing the Tax Rate Bylaw prior to this council meeting in order to ensure all legislation was being met, as many changes have occurred in order to accommodate tax payers during the Covid 19 pandemic.”

One substantial change is that penalties for late payment won’t start accruing until September 30.

Council concluded with their reports.

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