Friday, February 28, 2014

Crowsnest Pass, How do we compare?

For those that love numbers, how do we compare as a community to other communities of relative size to ourselves financially.

The following are numbers we were provided with at our first budget meeting last night. (Next meeting is in Council chambers on March 6 2pm to discuss 2014 Capital Projects).

CNP compared to the following 18 communities (2012 numbers used):

Pincher Creek, Claresholm, Raymond, Grande Cache, Barrhead, Vermillion, Westlock, Didsbury, Jasper, Redcliff, Stettler, Vegreville, St Paul, Wainwright, Devon, Peace River, Blackfalds, Ponoka.

Population wise they all between 3,600 and 6,800 residents:

Equalized Assessment per Capita: CNP had an average assessment of $169,142 per resident second highest in the list to only Jasper.

Cost of Interest and Banking per Capita:   CNP $7 the average of the group $43

Cost of Materials, Goods, Supplies and Utilities Per Capita:  CNP $497  the average of the group $401

Cost of Contracted and General Services Per Capita:  CNP $621 with the average of the group being $479

Cost of Salaries, Wages and Benefits Per Capita: CNP $937 with the average of the group being $720

Major Expenditures Per Capita by Broad Function:

General Government CNP $386  Average $264
Protective Services CNP $267  Average $232
Transportation CNP $872  Average $498
Environment CNP $521 Average $519
Recreation CNP $448  Average $425

Revenue Source Per Capita, Sales and User Fees:

CNP $712  Average $675

Revenue Source Per Capita, Grants:

CNP $936  Average $482

Revenue Source Per Capita, Net Municipal Property Taxes:

CNP $1,218  Average $874

Long Term Municipal Debt per Capita:

CNP $211  Average $1,066

Tax Collection Rates:

CNP 92.4%   Average 97.4%

Equalized Assessment Per Capita:

CNP $169,142  Average $117,601

Equalized Tax Rate Residential:

CNP 9.4%  Average 9.3%

Equalized Tax Rate Non Residential:

CNP 13.2% Average 14.1%

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Moving forward in the Crowsnest Pass

Some good news  for the Crowsnest Pass. I attended the Municipal Planning Commission yesterday, very happy to see that Westcastle Motors will be coming back to the Pass soon, they applied for a permit to set up on Highway 3 in West Coleman.
Also Dawn Rigby the owner of Country Encounters informed the board that they will be breaking ground on their new 50 seat restaurant with a five room hotel above it, this spring.

This really is the kind of news we need to be hearing in the Crowsnest Pass.

NOTE: Bid Opening this afternoon (Feb 27) on the tenders for the flood damage, 2pm in Council Chambers.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Municipality of Crowsnest Pass press release Feb 25/2014

Your Municipal Council would like to provide an update to the taxpayers of the Crowsnest Pass on the numerous challenges that we have encountered since being elected four months ago.

Between Oct. 21, 2013 through to the end of April 2014, our entire team of senior management (including CAO and all of the department heads) will be replaced. This has created numerous difficulties and challenges, but thanks to the tremendous efforts of all of our employees, we will move forward, it will just take longer than normal for some tasks to be completed, such as the budget.

Your present council has received a lot of criticism over a couple of issues including the entrance signs and the Crowsnest Centre site. During our short tenure on council we have inherited contractual agreements made by the previous administration that committed the community to these projects financially. Contractors were also permitted significant time delays and there will be an additional cost accrued of $55,000 that we have no option other than to pay.

You will have noticed that council has conducted a lot of business “In Camera”. This is a legal requirement in the Municipal Government Act of Alberta for issues that fall under the categories of “Land, Legal or Labour”.
Unfortunately, there were numerous issues left to this council that fall under these three categories that have required a lot of time, effort and energy on the part of both administration and council.

Crowsnest Mountain Resort
Crowsnest Centre Site
River Run
Sentinel property

Chinook Pipeline
Blairmore Smoke Eaters

CUPE 812-15-20 outstanding grievances

We are presently waiting for our 2013 financial year end to be completed and will be starting the budget process on Feb. 27. We are anticipating that the budget may create some additional challenges, which may require us to make some very difficult choices.

We, as your elected officials, do not wish to paint a negative picture of this community that has so much to offer, however, in the interest of transparency we wanted to fully inform the public of the issues that we have faced since the beginning of our term. We all understand that the issues listed above will take time to resolve, and would like to assure you that we are committed to resolving these issues and we continue to feel very optimistic about moving our community forward.

Thank you for your patience.
Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Council meeting of Feb 4, 2014


Approval given for a re-zoning in Frank to allow for a duplex to be built.

Legacy Issue #1

Our Economic Development Officer informs us that Chris Vachon our hotel finder is looking for a Hotel concept development plan from council for the old hospital site. During this conversation she informs us that the $50,000 of our tax dollars that was invested in the Best Western agreement expires at July 1. She also informs us that there is a "possibility" to extend the agreement, the question was asked if that is guaranteed? the answer is No, the thought that goes through my mind is at what cost?

Legacy Issue #2

Remember not that long ago when administration and council told us that the old hospital was being ripped down, and it would only cost us $590,000 well our Director of Public Works informs us that there was more asbestos in the sub floors of the old nursing home side than the original environmental assessment showed, shockingly there appears to be an additional cost over run of $154,000 which is going to be reduced some what by the contractor burying the remaining piles in the holes instead of hauling them away.
Council was not happy with this and passed a motion to have all the tenders, bids, contracts and any motions provided to council for the Feb 21st meeting.

Spring/Fall cleanup, We will  be looking at the possibility of working with the Landfill to put in place an opportunity for our residents to have some form of a spring and or fall cleanup.

Capital/Equipment purchases I have received numerous calls concerning a rumor that we will be purchasing five pickups, it was clarified by our CAO that there will be no Capital/Equipment purchases prior to budget being approved by council. (Budget process is anticipated to start the last week of February)

Legacy Issue #3

Tax penalties, previous council had put in place a tax penalty of 52% this is way out of whack compared to 99% of the other municipalities in rural Alberta. Penalties in other comparative municipalities to ourselves range from 20-25% Tuesday night we passed first reading of a bylaw to reduce our rate to 20%.  


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pass Powderkeg Ski Hill update. (Press Release)


February 4, 2014


The Pass Powderkeg Ski Hill Society and Municipality of Crowsnest Pass have decided to move forward on a new management partnership. At the January 21 Municipal Council meeting, Council approved the Society’s recommendation to have general management of the Ski Hill be provided by the municipality’s Director of Community Services.

“With the recent resignation of the Ski Hill General Manager, the Society took the time to evaluate its management structure, budgeting, staffing needs, and relationship with the municipality,” explained Pass Powderkeg Ski Hill Society President, Neil Johnston. “The Board felt this was the best option to meet our current needs in a cost effective manner, while retaining flexibility for the ski hill into the future.”

The proposal of the Board, which included a projected annual savings of $62,000/year, was unanimously supported by Council. “The Ski Hill is an important and valuable asset to the community,” stated Mayor Blair Painter, “and we are pleased to support the Ski Hill Society’s recommendation while realizing overall cost savings and efficiencies. We see this as a win-win situation.”

Council took the Society’s recommendation as an opportunity to cement additional changes already under consideration by the municipality. In conjunction with Ski Hill management, Parks and Recreation Facility operations and maintenance will be moved into the Community Services department. Further, Protective Services was removed from the department, with the Manager of Protective Services now reporting directly to the CAO.

Management of Parks and Recreation Facilities won’t be a departure for the Director of Community Services, Mr. Lyle Hannan. Hannan brings to the position a bachelor’s degree and 15 years of senior management experience in Parks and Recreation, including management of facilities such as golf courses, arenas, pools, halls, and parks. “I am very excited to work with Council, staff, and the
community to preserve and enhance our community programs and facilities,” confirmed Hannan.

For more information:

Blair Painter, Mayor                               Neil Johnston, President
Municipality of Crowsnest Pass              Pass Powderkeg Ski Hill Society

(403) 563-0513                                    (403) 209-0812