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Outlook town council - Cell phone, remuneration policies discussed

Highlights from the November 23 meeting.
2020 Town Sign

OUTLOOK - The town council of Outlook met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday night, November 23. Present was all of Council: Justin Turton, Bob Stephenson, Sharon Bruce, Kyle McLeod, Ryan Husband, and Kevin Grotheim, as well as Mayor Maureen Weiterman, Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Trew, and Assistant Administrator Rachel Sillers.

The meeting was broadcast on the Town of Outlook's Facebook page.

A number of topics and items were discussed, including the following highlights.


Council discussed three bylaws at this meeting. The first was Bylaw 20(2022) Borrowing Bylaw, which was seeking both the second and third reading. The Town requires a bylaw to borrow money over a long term, and the Town's debt limit is over $4 million with the current long-term debt is under $600,000. Related to the Railway subdivision, it was said that now that Phase 1A is complete, the Town is hoping to borrow $2.5 million to replace the cash used from other sources.

Council has set a number of incentives to encourage the sale of lots and development of the lots soon after purchase.

A motion was made and carried for the second reading of the bylaw, and then a motion was made and carried for the bylaw's third reading.

The first reading of Bylaw 21(2022) Public Notice Bylaw was carried.

As well, the first reading of Bylaw 22(2022) Joint Board of Revision Bylaw was carried.

New Business

Council discussed the Annual Municipal Revenue Sharing Grant Resolution, and after some discussion that highlighted what it was about, it was carried.

Next, a development appeals board appointment was discussed, and the recommendation was that the Town of Outlook appoint Western Municipal Consulting Ltd. to manage the development appeals board process for a term of January 1, 2023 to December 31 of that year. A motion was made and carried to proceed with the recommendation.

As well, a number of policies were discussed that included some lengthy debating between councillors. These included Policy GG-004 Travel Rates, Policy COU-001 Council Remuneration Policy, and Policy EMP-010 Cell Phone Reimbursement Policy.

Speaking to travel rates, the recommendation was that meal rates be set at $62.00 per day, with breakfast at $10.00, lunch at $22.00 and supper at $30.00. A motion was made and carried to accept that recommendation.

There was a sizable discussion in relation to the next two topics surrounding the policies of council remuneration and cell phone reimbursement.

In relation to remuneration, administration recommended wholesale changes that included an additional monthly stipend of $100.00 to council members and removing the special meeting remuneration, as well as committee and council-appointed board representative rates for the first three meetings attended per month, in addition to council and committee of the whole meetings. Meetings attended in excess of three will be paid at $75.00 per instance. Administration further recommended a per diem of $350.00 for a full day and $200.00 for a half day to reflect municipal standards. Finally, administration recommended that all of Council have access to reimbursement only if they should incur expenses for communication devices, local vehicle travel, and office use of home on a monthly basis for as much as $200.00 per month. These changes were expected to have very little impact on the Town, and they would become effective as of January 1, 2023.

As discussion grew on the topic, Mayor Weiterman asked for everyone's thoughts around the room. With everyone giving their feedback, this will allow Administrator Trew to go back and retool the policy before bringing it back to Council.

In relation to the cell phone reimbursement policy, it also produced a back and forth discussion. In addition, it was said that the Jim Kook Rec Plex will soon have a cell phone booster.

There was talk on business use vs personal use when it comes to cell phones and where the proverbial line should be drawn, and it was said that one person's reasonable may not match up with another person's idea of reasonable. Ultimately, what was discussed was a formula of reimbursing a portion of cell phone bills of up to $40.00 per month for those with upper and senior positions in the Town, and up to $20.00 for other staff members. Administrator Trew will bring the policy back to Council after some retooling.

Chief Administrative Officer Report

Prepared by Kevin Trew
Human Resources

I am pleased to report that we have a full complement of staff for the season at the Jim Kook Recplex in both the kitchen and the facility itself. We look forward to the good work of Owen supervising the facility and Laurie managing the kitchen. Our Recreation Director, Megan, continues to provide oversight regarding scheduling in the facility and she is both Owen’s and Laurie’s direct supervisor.

In Public Works we are at a full complement for the winter and spring as well, we have one employee on long term disability and we continue to have this as a placeholder on our team and will have work for him upon his return, with normal attrition, vacations, and seasonal staffing needs, we are confident that, at his return, we will not be in a position that we would have to layoff permanent staff.

In administration, we are also at a full complement of staff.

I have presented Council with information regarding Christmas Gift Cards as staff appreciation based on the same parameters that were followed in 2021; gift cards split between AG Foods and Riverbend Cooperative; $200 for permanent staff on staff before January 1, 2022; $100 for permanent staff joining us since January 1, 2022; $25 for seasonal staff that were with us for a full pool season starting June 1, 2022 and for the first part of the rink season staring September 1, 2022.

Policy and Procedural Items:

Our team is working hard at preparing the 2023 operations and capital budgets for approval prior to end of the 2022 Calendar year – we are very confident we are on track to do so.

We will have a strategic plan report card as a part of the annual report ready to hand out at the November 30 open house. While this is our first annual report which will be reporting on 2021 activities as well as the first 6 to 9 months of 2022 we are expecting the next annual report to be made in August of 2023 and to be very clearly reporting on 2022 and the first seasons of 2023 (up to and including June 1).

Successes this Month:

I invite people to take a look at the landfill – our team has been busy making this a much nicer facility – of course it is hard to “pretty up” garbage, but I am especially proud of the conversion lately from a place we would prefer not to call a dump. The pride our team is showing in this location has not gone unnoticed.

Ice making is another success I want to point out – this year our recreation facilities team planned putting in the ice before they put it in – when I say planned – they ran through scenarios and ways to troubleshoot instead of doing all of this on the fly. Of course, it is no secret that we don’t have curling ice right now but that is through absolutely no fault of our team at the Jim Kook Recreation Complex.

Learning Opportunities/Capacity Development:

Ice plants – my gosh, do we ever have a lot of room to grow when it comes to ice plants – the curling ice had to be taken out for the 2nd year in a row – this time before we even got to use it – the problems are insurable and insurance is expected to pay for us to put the ice in again which is a bit of a relief but this has been a struggle for the curlers, the recreation team and the community, the reality is that the components and the plant itself has aged and that there are capital improvements required – we are making a plan to follow with capital improvements with the ice plants going forward. The skating ice plant has also given us lots of issues putting skating at risk, however we have been able to manage through the season thus far. We are expecting insurance to pay for the replacement of one of the compressors soon, again, the plant and the components are old, in fact mostly older than the curling plant, we have the task of capital planning for both plants and decisions will be deliberated at Council in the coming months.

With our recent Highway Underground Infrastructure project beginning, it is abundantly clear that our contractor did not appreciate the importance we set forth regarding detours; the Town had stipulated from the beginning that highway traffic needed to detour using the bypass and NOT through residential areas, we did feel that local traffic could use limited residential areas as needed. Unfortunately the contractor has struggled with highway traffic drivers not following the signs and consequently being stranded with no where to go BUT through business properties or by detouring in residential areas. This is very problematic as the short period of time this is happening this fall is a drop in the bucket compared to the extended period where there will be detours next summer. This is a learning opportunity, we have insisted the contractor make adjustments this fall and just today I am confident that we are trying something different.

Current Unfinished Projects:

Highway Water, Sewer and Storm Water Replacement – This has started and we expect the contractor to be present for the next couple of weeks replacing manhole cones, the majority of the work of Phase 1 will be completed in late spring and early summer 2023. We expect Phase 2 tendering to be out this winter so that the full project will be completed in summer 2023.

Storm Water Outfalls rehabilitation will be completed in spring 2023 – Accurate HD is the chosen contractor. We will have a one year warranty on the vegetation so spring work is preferred to fall.

Landfill Decommissioning of Old Cell – The source material has been secured – I am still waiting to hear results of the tendering process.

Raw Water Intake/ Water Treatment Plant Upgrade Project – This project is still in the early stages of study and it is expected to have the majority of work happen in late 2023 and 2024.

Subdivisions Projects

Railway Commercial/Industrial – new sign up and prospectus for buyers is prepared and on our website. We have a number of great tax incentives that relate to the Railyard Subdivision. All work is complete for Phase 1a.

Highway Commercial – Associated Engineering has given a high level estimate of $700,000 for the work on the highway commercial subdivision as well as work required because of the traffic impact assessment, we are working with Danny Gray, independent planner on this project, a main stumbling block continues to be permission for the storm water 1 in 300 event holding on the CP Rail land across the highway, Danny and Associated Engineering are working on the possibility of the Town leasing from CP Rail instead of purchasing the land. I expect to share the plans with CP Rail once all is available. Associated Engineering has been contracted to continue planning.

Residential – Nothing new to report at this time. The planner is continuing work to this regard.

New Zoning Bylaw – Urban Systems will be at our open house collecting more information regarding the new zoning bylaw, we are hoping to have a first read of the bylaw before year’s end.

Future Projects:

We await another call for path development to include an application for the Skytrail Bridge.


In 2023, we have many projects to complete and we are very hesitant to make plans for more projects at this time.

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