March 14, 2022 Council Highlights

The following is a summary of decisions made by Town Council during its February 28, 2022, Regular Meeting. For an audio recording of this meeting please check the bottom of this page. The agenda and attachments are available here: Peace River – Document Center (civicweb.net)

Presentations

Peace River Library Board Annual Budget presentation

Some key items from this presentation:

  • In 2021, the Peace River Municipal Library implemented their Grab & Go Services, the removal of late fees, and take-home board games.
  • Their key goals and objectives, looking forward, are to cultivate cultural awareness, provide community resources and services, and to support lifelong learning.
  • Funding for 2022 is consistent with 2021 levels.
  • Some new benefits for users include email/phone/TRACpac app membership renewals, e-transfers, no late fees, online registration for programs, and virtual & in-person programming.

55+ Games presentation (posted March 11, 2022)

Some key items from this presentation:

  • In early September, a strategic planning committee started planning for this event. Lifelong fitness and active living are the messages of these Games.
  • The activity sites will range from St. Isidore to Dixonville. The two main facilities will be the Baytex Energy Centre and the Mile Zero Regional Multiplex. It is anticipated that there will be 1100+ competitors, which will bring a boost to economy within the Peace Region, namely to campgrounds and hotels, as well as restaurants.
  • Volunteers will serve as a crucial component of the Games’ success. 200+ volunteers in total are needed, and 100 volunteers have signed up thus far.
  • The Games will begin with an opening ceremony on Thursday, June 16th, and will end with a volunteer appreciation ceremony.

Anyone looking for more information or to sign up as a volunteer can do so through the link directly below.

Volunteer

Both items accepted for information.

New Business

Request for Decision re: Value of Deficient Parking Policy

The purpose of the Value of Deficient Parking Policy was to have developers pay the Town if there were deficient parking provided for a property. However, this policy is no longer in use, as it is superseded by the Town’s Land Use Bylaw (the applicable portion also included in the document linked above). Additionally, as this is a matter that is addresses at the development permit level, Administration anticipates that future versions of the Land Use Bylaw will not include any provision for deficient parking.

As such, Administration recommended that P-61-1987-01, the Value of Deficient Parking Policy be rescinded.

The motion that P-61-1987-01, the Value of Deficient Parking Policy be rescinded was carried.

Request for Decision re: Tax Penalty Cancellation Policy

On February 7, Administration presented a draft Tax Penalty Cancellation Policy for Council to consider. Following this, the proposed Policy was publicized via the Town’s public engagement platform.

Public Engagement

Eleven responses were received. The feedback can be summarized as:

  • Eight responses were in favor of the proposed policy, generally in quite strong terms;
  • One person felt that the policy should flexible and used to assist businesses; and
  • Two expressed concern that changes in ownership may affect receipt of the tax notices.

When property changes hands, there may be a gap between the date of possession by the new owner and the date Land Titles register the change. This gap varies over time but is currently 3-4 months. Since tax notices are sent to the owner of record based on information received from Land Titles, it is possible that the new owner may not receive the notice.

In the vast majority of cases, this gap is addressed during the sale process where the payments are calculated and paid immediately, or a lender becomes responsible for paying the taxes as part of a financing agreement. In an extremely small number of cases, the tax deadline occurs after the new owner has taken possession, but before the property is in their name via Land Titles.

Currently, the Town provides two ways to get the tax information of a property:
1. Presenting identification which matches the name on the property title; or
2. Payment of a $20 fee to obtain the Tax Certificate.

Recognizing the small number of cases where an individual is the owner-in-fact by having sale documents and having paid for (and likely paying the mortgage on) the property but where Land Titles has not yet caught up to this, staff acknowledge that it is not reasonable for someone to be charged $20 to receive their tax bill.

Therefore, if an individual is able to provide signed and executed sale documents and matching identification, this will be acceptable as proof of ownership. Note that this does not mean that penalties will be cancelled in these cases. Prompt payment of taxes is the responsibility of the owner at the time they are due, regardless of the status of the transfer.

It is, then, Administration’s belief that this small procedural change will address the community concerns related to property transfers and tax payments. The proposed Policy provides a clear framework for staff when receiving requests of this nature, is mindful that decisions of this type affect all ratepayers and retains the right of appeal to Council.

The motion that Council approves the proposed Tax Penalty Cancellation Policy as presented was carried.

Briefing Note re: Campaign Finance Disclosure (document posted March 11, 2022)

The Local Authorities Elections Act requires that the Secretary transmit a report to Council on those candidates who have not filed a campaign disclosure statement. The list of those who have not filed are available in the document linked directly above.

To summarize the requirements and process for campaign disclosure:
1. s. 147.4 (1): All candidates must file a disclosure statement on or before March 1. This section also lists the requirements that the statement must include.
2. s. 147.7(2): Candidates who have not filed by March 1 must pay a fee of $500.
3. s 147.8(1): If the candidate has not filed a report within 10 days of the deadline, a report must be made to Council and the report made public.

Therefore, in accordance with the requirements of the legislation, we report that the following candidates have not filed campaign disclosure statements as required under the Act.

The motion to accept the Briefing Note for information was carried. 

Reports

022 01-02 Corporate Services/CAO Monthly Report

Peace Library System Board Meeting highlights for February 26, 2022

Both items were accepted for information.

Meeting Audio

Related

Mayor & Council