With the exception of taking oaths of office for a four-year term, it was business as usual for Ponoka’s new council during its first organizational meeting Oct. 29.
Administration had two requests to cancel property tax penalties; the first being for $18,060.53. The ownership of Oasis Motel changed hands over some time and the facility went into mortgage default, said CAO Brad Watson. “The company in 2009 went behind in taxes.”
A caveat was placed on the property in 2011 and an order for sale was issued by Alberta Land Titles Office, he added. A registered letter was sent to the owner, Northeast Financial Corporation, which was received but they claim they did not receive a notice. Watson does not feel taxpayers should be on the hook for the tax penalties.
“There are lawyers involved. There are courts involved, so I submit that they were fully aware of the process,” explained Watson.
Coun. Teri Underhill used her experience as a legal assistant to support the request. “Anytime you do any kind of foreclosure your first job is to do a tax search.”
Mayor Rick Bonnett suggested if council decided to give leniency on the tax penalty, they should require the company to refurbish the façade. “To give back into the building.”
Council denied the request to reverse the penalties.
The second request came from tax roll 117860 to forgive $98.51. Notifications sent from the town went to the correct address but the owner did not live there, said Betty Quinlan, director of corporate services. Notices were not being forwarded but the address has now been updated.
“There was an element of legitimacy in what the people said,” added Watson.
The amount was forgiven by a vote of 5 to 2.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Cameron Chisholm was witness to the councillors and the mayor taking their oath of office. Councillors also accepted the meeting dates and standing committees.
Standing committee appointments
• Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society: Rick Bonnett
• Finance and human resources: Loanna Gulka
• Union negotiations: Carla Prediger, alternate Loanna Gulka
• Planning, promotion and economic development: Mark Yaworski, alternate Teri Underhill
• Protection and safety services: Loanna Gulka, alternate Sandra Lyon
• CP Train: Loanna Gulka
• Community services: Teri Underhill, alternate Loanna Gulka
• Recreation, parks and trails: Carla Prediger, alternate Tim Falkiner
• Central Alberta Regional Trail Society: Carla Prediger
• Social and health services: Sandra Lyon
• Family and Community Support Services: Sandra Lyon and Carla Prediger
• Rimoka Housing Foundation: Rick Bonnett, Tim Falkiner and alternate Loanna Gulka
• Transportation, utilities, cemetery and environmental services: Tim Falkiner
• Airport Commission: Tim Falkiner, alternate Teri Underhill
• External committees: Rick Bonnett
• Central Alberta Economic Partnership: Rick Bonnett, alternate Mark Yaworski
• Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association liaison: Rick Bonnett, alternate Mark Yaworski
Council is scheduled to meet every second and fourth Tuesday of the month with the exception of only one meeting in the month of December for the 10th. In the month of June and September, council will meet on Monday; June 23 and Sept. 22 respectively. Although there was a request by Coun. Carla Prediger to change the day of committee of the whole, which meets every third Tuesday, there were no changes as there are other commitments for committee work. Council can make changes to those later, explained Watson.
Police quarterly statistics
Chisholm took some time to explain how the Ponoka RCMP operates. There are 14 Mounties in the detachment, three of whom cover the rural area.
“They (the town) pay for 11 but they get a $100,000 Premiere’s initiative grant,” he explained in reference to the arrangement regulating the RCMP Detachment funding.
Chisholm told councillors of a recent initiative called Project Peace and Quiet, trying to reduce noisy vehicles. “I think that’s had an impact on loud vehicles in town.”