Friday, December 19, 2014

Crowsnest Pass -Capital Budget 2015-

Lots of scary numbers on this page, the following is Administration's recommendations. How will this be paid for? obviously some from grants, some from debt and some from the tax roll.
The items below have a cost attached to them and administration's priority level regarding the need.

In summary we are looking at the following:
Maintain safety $330,000
Preserving existing assets $250,500
Fleet Replacement $2,166,000
Infrastructure Replacement $6,062,000
Frank Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrading $5,000,000
Provide for growth $100,000
Enhancements $235,000

Total $14,143,500

Maintain Safety

LED Streetlight Retrofitting 30,000 High Priority
Gravel Rural Roads 300,000 High Priority

Preserve Existing Assets

Wastewater Collection System Video Inspection 39,500 High Priority
Fleet additions 211,000
Lane Reconditioner 9,000 High Priority
Hoe Tamper Attachment 20,000 High Priority
6" Trash Pump 42,000 High Priority
Grader Packer 20,000 High Priority
Bucket Truck 120,000 High Priority

Upgrade/Replace Existing Assets

Fleet replacement

Wheel Loader 250,000 Committed
Wheel Loader 250,000 High Priority
Light Pickups (3) 110,000 High Priority
Fire Command Unit 84,000 High Priority
Facility Vans (2) 130,000 High Priority
Sanding Trucks (2) 360,000 High Priority
Steamer Truck Deck 5,000 High Priority
Street Sweeper 250,000 High Priority
HydroVac Truck 450,000 High Priority
Low Boy Unit 95,000 High Priority
Fire Support Unit 50,000 High Priority
Water Rescue Boat 10,000 High Priority
John Deere Attachments 40,000 High Priority
Loader Swivel Blade 30,000 Medium Priority
Welder 22,000 High Priority
Snowmobile 30,000 High Priority
Zamboni - High Priority $170,000 requires 2015 commitment for 2016 delivery

Deep Infrastructure Replacement High Priority

Sanitary Sewer Main Replacement 24 Ave 391,000 High Priority
Sanitary Sewer Main Replacement C#402 to C#412 2,420,000 High Priority
Sanitary Sewer Main Replacement BL#136 to BL#140 813,000 High Priority
Sanitary Sewer Main Replacement BL#107 to BL#108 451,000 High Priority
Water and Sanitary Sewer Main Replacement 128 St 302,000 High Priority
Coleman Booster Pump Station Facility Upgrade 55,000 High Priority
Blairmore Main Pump Station Facility Upgrade 55,000 High Priority
Sentinel Water Tower Maintenance and Access Road 125,000 High Priority
Road Rehabilitation 1,000,000 High Priority
Electrical Distribution System Upgrading 200,000 High Priority
IT Upgrades 200,000 In Progress
Office Upgrades 50,000 Medium Priority

Facility Upgrades For Discussion
Sentinel Bridge Replacement For Discussion
Frank Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrading 5,000,000 High Priority Dependent on AMWWP funding approval

Provide for Growth
Passburg Pit Property Acquisition 100,000 High Priority

Enhancements-Fleet additions
Watering Truck 35,000 Medium Priority
Concrete Crushing 200,000 Low Priority

My next post will show how administration intends to pay for all of the above.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Press Release regarding ASMA

December 17, 2014 - For Immediate Release - The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass has received a facility review and evaluation of the Albert Stella Memorial Arena. The purpose of the review, which commenced in 2013, was to investigate the condition of the building, short and long term renovation costs, and the viability of renovation options. As a result of the evaluation, several flags were raised by the consultant with regard to the condition of the building that will require further evaluation and testing. As a precaution, and in the interest of ensuring the health and safety of our user groups, staff and the public, the Municipality must temporarily close the facility until the full scope of the issues are investigated further. The Municipality apologizes for the short notice, however this issue required immediate action to minimize safety risks. The Municipality will be working with the user groups to attempt to find alternate arrangements so that they may continue their programming. For more information please contact Lyle Hannan, Director of Community Services at (403) 562-8833.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Riversdale Resources reaches shipping agreement with Westshore Terminals

The following is information regarding Riversdale and Westshore Terminals reaching agreement to ship product through that port beginning in 2018.

"Westshore has entered into an agreement with Riversdale Resources Limited, a Canadian company with a planned metallurgical (steel making) coal mine to be developed in Blairmore, Alberta. Under the terms of the agreement, Riversdale will pay Westshore an annual  reservation fee to hold up to 2 million tonnes of capacity at Westshore. Production is slated to start in late 2018 and ramping up in 2019. The agreement with Riversdale also includes a 10 year throughput agreement for such volumes ending in 2028."

The full article is available at:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Back to a one party state in Alberta?

Is this the end of the Wildrose, even though I believe that Jim Prentice is showing tremendous leadership, democracy never works as well without an effective opposition. If the Wildrose party is merged with the Conservatives we will return to the days of one party having 90% of the seats in the legislature.  

Wildrose caucus meeting over merger with Alberta Conservatives

Crowsnest Pass Brand/Logo

The results to the Brand/Logo survey are now available at:

I will voice my opinion at the council meeting tonight on this subject.
The public as made it very clear that they do not wish us to spend any more time, energy, effort and (especially) money on this issue.

The great thing that came out of this whole process in my mind is the opportunity that was provided to give the public the chance to provide their input. And input they did almost 800 people responded that's 15% of our population compared to say a Lethbridge could you see 20,000 people responding to a city survey?
I think between using our utility bills and the municipal web site, those are great tools that I hope will be used on a regular basis moving forward.

Also of great importance the cost of allowing the public to voice their opinion on this issue? $200.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Should the taxpayers be allowed to vote on tax increases?

The Mayors Council representing all the metro area's of the lower mainland of B.C. Is looking to raise tax revenue to finance a $7.5 billion transit plan. They are proposing to raise the BC Provincial Sales Tax by half a per cent to fund this project. Nothing unusual government proposing to raise taxes and spend a pile of money.
What is out of the norm is they proposing to give the taxpayers the opportunity to vote on this tax increase. That means they will have to go out and sell the justification to the public for this tax increase. The proposal is to hold a referendum in the spring.

This raises many questions:
How far do you go with referendums? Should the taxpayers be allowed to vote on tax increases? Should referendum be for "one off" tax increases or for all tax increases? Should it be only for tax increases above a certain amount (more than the cost of living)? etc etc.

Our neighbors to the west are having quite a debate on this issue.

PST hike of 0.5% proposed for Metro Vancouver transit referendum

Alberta takes action to control spending

The province is showing some leadership as we head for difficult financial times in this province. 

Key point in this release is payroll/staffing, at all levels of government, the single largest cost is payroll.   

Alberta takes action to control spending

December 15, 2014 Media inquiries
Cost containment measures taken immediately, and new committee lays foundation for Budget 2015.
Resource revenues are expected to be lower while the population is expected to be higher, and the combination poses some unique challenges for Alberta.
“This is not budgeting as usual. Governing responsibly requires us to be disciplined with spending, prudent with revenues, and cautious with forecasts. We are taking action, and I have asked a team to devote their energy and attention to ensuring we make the right decisions for Albertans.”
Premier Jim Prentice
A new seven-member Budget 2015 Committee will begin work on the 2015 budget. Members are:
  • Jim Prentice, Premier (chair);
  • Robin Campbell, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance (vice-chair);
  • Stephen Mandel, Minister of Health;
  • Diana McQueen, Minister of Municipal Affairs;
  • Frank Oberle, Minister of Energy;
  • Manmeet Bhullar, Minister of Infrastructure; and
  • Ric McIver, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour
The committee’s work begins immediately, and will continue until the budget is introduced in the spring. The committee will be looking at economic projections, capital and operating budgets, policy commitments, and revenue forecasts. It will make recommendations to Treasury Board.
Ministers are not receiving additional compensation for this work.
The Government of Alberta is also taking action to control spending for the remainder of this fiscal year through cost containment measures.
“While our provincial financial picture is strong and we are in the best position to deal with this low price environment, it is important that we take action and control spending. Sustained low prices are having a significant impact on provincial revenues and we must exercise fiscal discipline and treat taxpayer dollars prudently.”
President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, Robin Campbell
A number of actions are being taken to control spending in three main areas:

Payroll/staffing costs

Effective immediately, a hiring restraint initiative has been implemented. The intent is to limit any growth in overall staffing costs. Hiring may still occur for positions that are critical to government operations or provide frontline services to Albertans. These will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with Deputy Ministers required to review and approve recruitment to all positions.
Public sector compensation is the largest driver of government expense, accounting for $22.5 billion in direct and indirect spending last fiscal year.  

Procurement of goods and services

Spending on goods and services is to be limited, wherever possible, to those required to meet critical operational requirements or legal commitments.

Grants/discretionary spending

Any discretionary grants, travel, training and other related costs are to be limited across government unless they are required to meet critical operational requirements or legal commitments. 
Agencies, Boards and Commissions along with the SUCH sector (Schools, Universities, Colleges and Health Authorities) will also be asked to implement similar cost containment measures.