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Didsbury road projects outlined, interim CAO named


DIDSBURY - Town public works staff gave council a detailed summary of the 2019 asphalt rehabilitation and repair project at the regular council meeting Nov. 26.

The background information that council received stated that they directed public works to execute a contract to rehabilitate five partial segments of the network.

The five segments were in poor condition and were in desperate need of investment. Concurrently, following a particularly hard winter, public works had several water and wastewater breaks to repair.

Further, delays with the Copperview subdivision allowed the town to execute works on 10th Street from Highway 582 to Valarosa Drive.

Cost to complete for each part was: water $87,061.31, sewer $46,983.77, council segments $218,585.35, and 10th Street $163,210.85.

The council segments consisted of 14th Street south of 20th Avenue to 18th Avenue, 16th Street north of 20th Avenue to 21st Avenue, 16th Street south of 20th Avenue to 19th Avenue, in front of Wes-Can on 16th Street, West Hill Crescent, and Silverstone Place.

Didsbury mayor Rhonda Hunter said council was pleased with the report.

"Any time reserves and operational funds can upgrade roads in Didsbury it's a good thing," said Hunter. "We know there are many roads that need work, as in any municipality. We really like the project summary reports, which is something this council asked to have presented on the capital projects we have approved.

"The project summary reports give a good overall picture of final costs, completion dates, assessments and issues, and outcomes of these projects."

In other council news, council received an updated report on the proposed 2020 operating and capital budgets.

Council made several suggestions before passing a motion to direct staff to look at those changes and return the document to council at the Jan. 14, 2020 regular meeting.

The background information given to council stated that the 2020 proposed capital budget was presented to council and the public on Oct. 29, while the 2020 proposed operating budget was presented to council and the public on Nov. 5 and 6.

Administration also held a public budget open house on Nov. 13, which enabled members of the public to review the budget documents and ask questions and provide feedback.

The total 2020 proposed capital budget is $3,887,600, while the 2020 proposed operating budget is $12,072,422.

The total 2020 proposed tax revenue requirement is $4,788,676, which is a one per cent decrease from 2019.

Feedback from the budget open house on Nov. 13 included suggestions around location for a water reservoir, setting funds aside for a library project, Shantz pedestrian connectivity, and increasing pathways and trails to increase walkability for residents.

Hunter said council is happy with how the budget process is going so far.

"The capital budget will come back to the January 14 regular council meeting for a decision on major projects that are proposed. To name a few, funding for the purchase and design phase of a new water reservoir, the 15th Avenue stormwater main extension, acquisition of the AG Foods building, the multi-purpose room/complex lobby roof replacement," she said.

"These projects look after our infrastructure and help plan for future growth."

Public works staff also gave a review of a water presentation, which was given by Coun. Bill Windsor to council on Oct. 8.

The review by public works compared other municipalities such as Sherwood Park and Stony Plain and investigated metered versus non-metered and user pay systems.

After given several water and wastewater utility rate structure options, council chose to postpone the decision until a new CAO is in place.

"Postponing the project frees up the time for Amanda (Riley) to perform her duties as chief financial officer-interim CAO," she said.

Riley was named interim chief administrative officer for the Town of Didsbury at a special meeting in November. The town is still actively pursuing a full-time CAO.

Council rejected a proposal to enter into a shared services sub-agreement with Mountain View County for operating the Olds-Didsbury Airport.

The annual per capita cost of $4.32, or $22,757.76 total, would have paid for airport operating expenses.

Council accepted as information a recommendation from staff to increase the signage permit fee to $250 to cover the costs of processing the permit.

The administrative review given to council stated that the town's signage permit is necessary to ensure that there is visual consistency and continuity throughout the community.

The motion also asks staff to look into what other communities are charging for signage permit fees.

Council approved a motion to fund the garland decoration in downtown Didsbury for the Christmas season at a cost of $2,000.

The garland was put up by contractor Grapevine Tree Care just in time for Country Christmas on Friday. Several residents came out to help fluff the garland.