Tax rate to increase 1.51 per cent
Town council voted in the 2018 tax rates, resulting in an average increase of 1.51 per cent on Monday night – or $4.25 per household.
The increase for residential taxes is coming in lower than the council-approved 3.06 per cent tax increase due to a decrease in educational tax rate of 1.20 per cent.
Property tax assessments fell by an average of 0.44 per cent for detached homes, 1.47 per cent for duplexes/town homes and 1.29 per cent for condos.
CRL generates $1.25 Million in revenues
The Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) revenues came in at $1.22 Million this year, which will go toward the pedestrian railway crossing capital project.
In 2012, the town passed the CRL bylaw to complete $13 Million in capital projects on 62.5 acres of downtown lands.
Funds from the CRL can be used for future development of the Tri-Site project lands (Esso Bulk Station, adjacent site to the library) that are within the CRL boundary.
Coun. McFadden noted that it was quite the “success story” for the town to go from more than 60 acres of contaminated soil generating a paltry few thousand annually in tax revenue to a over $1 million in tax revenues and thousands of jobs in the growing employment centre spanning The Quarry (formerly known as Domtar).
Off-Site Levies Bylaw
A non-statutory public hearing has been set for May 28 at 6 p.m., with respect to the offsite levies bylaw given first reading by council on Monday night.
The bylaw includes in excess of $200 million in capital projects over the next 20 years, $140 million of which comes from off-site levies collection.
Mayor Jeff Genung touted the changes in the Municipal Government Act that will expand what the off-site levies funds can be used for to include such projects as the Highway 1A and Centre Ave intersection and the future RCMP station as a positive – putting the reins in the hands of the Cochrane taxpayer to potentially leverage dollars for major capital projects.
Off-site levies are proposed to increase by 27 per cent this year, and the bylaw includes a recommendation to phase this in the increase in proposed levy payments schedule to 40 per cent prior to the issuance of development permits and 60 per cent one year later from the current schedule of 50/50.
A public hearing will also be held that night with respect to amendments to the Land Use Bylaw required as per changes made to the Municipal Government Act last fall.
BMX club looks for land security for future planning
Brad Christensen and Dallas Pike of Cochrane BMX delivered a presentation on the local club to town council, highlighting the club’s growth and climb in provincial rankings.
Their presentation included such highlights as growth in female ridership, players making the national stage and traveling to the U.S., as well as that it’s a sport the entire family can take part in.
The volunteer-run group, which has grown from 60 riders in 2012 to an anticipated 170 this year, emphasized the difficulty they face in planning and renovating their existing facility at the Ag Society lands – given the uncertainty of the Ag Society and whether they will remain at the current site or move.
Coun. Tara McFadden advised that the group may wish to present to the recreations and parks committee that is currently being formed, where a panel of stakeholders, residents and town representatives will hear about the needs of all sporting and rec groups in town – many of which have already identified a lack of playing spaces in town.
CAES this Canada Day
Cochrane and Area Events Society is the successful bidder to host Canada Day, with support of the town, this year. The Cochrane Light-Up Committee will assist. The festivities, to take place at Mitford Park on July 1, will include cultural and music celebrations, as well as food and kids activities and new this year – a beer garden hosted by Half Hitch Brewery.
The group said they are looking for 85 volunteers to ensure the event, which ends with fireworks around 11 p.m, runs smoothly.
Learn more at cochraneevents.ca.
Cochrane has joined the ranks of municipalities across the province to put their support behind the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project. Council unanimously supported the addition of the town’s logo to an Alberta Urban Municipalities Association letter of support to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Muni Enforcement Annual Report
Charlene Ruttle, manager of municipal enforcement services for the town, delivered her 2017 annual report to council on Monday night. After 21 years of services, Ruttle will be retiring in June. Her contributions, including her work to get the Cochrane and Area Humane Society up and running in 1998, were acknowledged by council and long-term administration staff.
Last year, muni enforcement responded to 2,280 calls for service and generated 3,500 files. Of their calls, 51 per cent pertain to animals, 27 per cent to traffic and 22 per cent to general concerns.
Animal licenses increased significantly to 5545 last year, up from 3313 in 2016. There was a increase in surrendered cats to the shelter last year, as well as complaints of barking dogs.
Noise complaints doubled last year from 2016 – to 66 from 33. as did snow complaints.
General parking concerns rose to 310 in 2017 from 276 the previous year. Unattached trailer concerns went down from 145 to 59.
Traffic citations issued fell to 493 from 658 in 2016.
An application to re-designate a parcel of land in Heartland to Commercial from high-density Residential was approved, however council did not vote in favour of allowing a potential lube shop to occupy the space.