Town discusses recycling, energy and tax recovery

Briefs from council’s regular meeting June 24

The following are brief items discussed by Ponoka town council during its regular meeting June 24.

FCM conference

The mayor and a couple of councillors attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) annual conference and trade show held in Quebec City May 30 to June 2.

Bonnett said what he heard from other mayors in Quebec was that they are in favour of Alberta oil and pipelines as well as rural mayors from B.C.

“There is some growing support there.”

The objections seemed to come from larger centres such as Vancouver.

Bonnett said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended, gave a speech and then left, but said at least he came as former PM Stephan Harper never attended all the years Bonnett has gone.

Coun. Sandra Lyons said she didn’t find the talks as valuable as she did the discussions she had with other municipality representatives.

Coun. Carla Prediger said a lot of time, energy and money was put into discussions about supporting energy and she felt it was largely disregarded by the politicians present.

Recycling discussed

After the CAO’s report, Bonnett requested that administration look into the town’s current recycling situation. Other municipalities, such as Lacombe, had found that their plastics were ending up in the landfill.

He says that if there is a problem with the town’s recycling, he wants to be upfront with citizens and get ahead of the problem.

“Maybe we can be leaders in that field,” he said, adding that this is a possible problem across the country, not unique to Alberta. “It’s time to start digging into it.”

Tax auction

Council discussed a possible date of Sept. 4 for its annual tax auction. All municipalities in Alberta are legislated to complete a tax recovery process, regulated by the Municipal Government Act (MGA).

The legislation gives municipalities, including the Town of Ponoka, the mandate and the authority to enforce the payment of legally levied taxes, up to and including the sale of the property at a public auction.

“We don’t want to take people’s property, we just need to adhere to the rules and regulations,” said Mayor Rick Bonnett.

“I think we’ve been very fair with people when they’ve come and made arrangements to pay their taxes.”

If you’re behind on your taxes, you can enter into an agreement with the town to pay the outstanding balance over a time period not exceeding three years. The property will not be auctioned off as long as the time period has not expired and there has been no breach of the agreement.

For more information on the tax recovery process, contact the town office.

Funding request

Council voted to deny a request from the Boys and Girls Club of Wolf Creek for a $2,000 donation to assist with fees for its summer program, and continue to give its usual in-kind donation of waived swimming fees and a reduction in its utility fees.

Those in-kind donations, with a total value of $3,200, were provided by the town since 2015.

Bonnett said although the youth centre is a great organization, the town doesn’t want to get into the business of “day care,” and that the centre is already receiving breaks on swimming fees and utility costs.

“To me, it seems like the requests just keep coming.”

He added that groups that want program funding should be looking to the provincial and federal governments.

The motion to continue the in-kind donation only was carried, with Coun. Kevin Ferguson opposed.

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