Ponoka’s municipal software change financed

Since town council approved a change in municipal software on March 21, administration has considered the best financing options for ...

  • May. 30, 2012 8:00 p.m.

Since town council approved a change in municipal software on March 21, administration has  considered the best financing options for the $270,000 software project.

Payment will be made over a four and half-year period to Diamond Municipal Software, and the funds will come from money already being used to pay for the Bellamy software, which is being replaced.

CAO Brad Watson said the town had interest rate options ranging from 5.1 per cent to 1.96 per cent from the Alberta Capital Financing Association (ACFA).

“We’re locking it in at 1.96 with the ACFA for five years,” he stated.

The cost of interest will be just under $15,000 for the loan period not to exceed five years. The original cost estimate was for $267,000 but there were some adjustments to the project, which made the $3,000 increase.

Changes to offsite levies

The last time Ponoka updated its offsite levy charges was in 1999. Councillors have approved a $25,000 project out of its reserve funds — as it is not in the 2012 capital budget — to update its Master Servicing Study and Offsite Levies.

“It’s very, very outdated,” said Watson.

Tagish Engineering will undertake the project. “This is a study and they will be looking at what have municipalities done,” he added.

Tagish will also consider what has worked around the province to come up with a new plan for Ponoka, explained Watson. “If it was a cut and paste thing, we would be doing it internally.”

The update will help with new developments and the offsite levies charged to them, which will in turn help fund future infrastructure needs.

Expenditures, revenues, and the capital statement

Expenditures and revenues up to April 30 for the Town of Ponoka appear to be on track for what was budgeted.

Revenue for 2012 is almost $14 million and so far $4.6 million has been made, which is 33 per cent of the full amount. Expenditures for the year are budgeted at $13.1 million with $3.7 million being spent so far, just over 29 per cent. Watson said the percentages should reflect the statement period.

For the capital statement, actual spending is $562,530, nine per cent of the $6.1 million budget.

Many of the 53 projects — 26 new and 27 carrying forward — are in the beginning stage of work and some are still in the process of receiving plans and proposals, which is why spending is so low. Utilities appear to be the only expenditure on schedule with $324,650 spent on the $1 million budget, approximately 32 per cent.

Roadwork

Councillors have approved a tender award to Central City Asphalt of $937,376 to complete roadwork in the Southwest Industrial Park. The contract involves the construction of an intersection on the west side of Highway 2A and 36 Avenue, and a road, curb and gutters on 36 Avenue and 67 Street.

A letter from Tagish Engineering advised the town to accept the tender as it was the lowest bid of four; other tenders were $1.01 million from Continental Earthmoving, $1.19 million from E. Construction, and $1.25 million from Border Paving.

Watson said the contract also includes five per cent GST and a 10 per cent contingency allowance.

“This is the work that we are under legal agreement to do, for the purchase agreements that we entered into with parties that were purchasing property in that area between 2012 and 2013,” he explained.

The project is intended to be completed in 2013 as paving will commence after winter to allow the road to go through a frost season as it is intended for heavy use.

Mayor Larry Henkelman asked if there was a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) clause in the contract, which would allow the town to disclose the breakdown of information if parties requested it, “so that if we go through a freedom of information (request) again, unless we have that we don’t really have the right to release that information.”

Watson said contractors were originally requested to include a clause from the FOIP commissioner stating the companies’ understanding, which was provided.

Henkelman said his concern related to previous FOIP requests where the town was legally obligated not to release information.

“It cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal fees,” he explained.

New RCMP building

The location for a new RCMP building has been chosen, 6711 Highway 53. Watson said approximately 20 sites were considered, but the site will give police quick access to the highway as well as be out of downtown and school zones.

“That was an issue that police brought up,” he explained.

It already has services installed on the property as well.

The process will be fairly lengthy because not only must the town deal with RCMP K Division but also with Ottawa.

Canada Day grant

Ponoka has received a $1,750 grant from the federal government to participate in a Canada Day program. Watson said they have been receiving this grant for more than five years and it helps offset costs incurred for the Canada Day party.

Subdivision changes

The Hopewell subdivision between the Ponoka Golf Club and the Centennial Centre was approved some time ago for 1,100 living units, ranging from apartments to large lot residences. The developer has requested the town consider alternative zoning for the project, as they want to make some changes to it.

Watson has requested the company submit detailed plans so it can be considered.

Rimoka pays $23,000 to lawyer

The Rimoka board has elected a new chair since Joe Anglin was elected as the Rocky Mountain House / Rimbey/Sundre, but Coun. John Jacobs had some concerns with Anglin’s last day as the chair.

Jacobs said Lucien Kurata is a lawyer who was hired by Rimoka to do some work for the board. “Originally we were told there was not going to be a charge for that.”

Rimoka did pay for the $23,846.76 bill, but board members did not know the amount until after it was paid.

“It was paid before it went to our meeting, and it was quite a large bill, about $23,000,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs’ concern was why the bill was paid without the board’s knowledge of the value.

Coun. Rick Bonnett suggested the Rimoka board investigate the background of the bill. “I’d be looking to find out why that charge is there. That’s a pretty substantial amount.”

The board was told there would be a cost due to extra work involved for the lawyer, explained Henkleman, but “we did not see the bill.”

Jacobs did say he was looking forward to working with the new chair, Ponoka County Coun. Paul McLauchlin.

By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

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