OUTLOOK - The town council of Outlook met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 25. Present was all of Council; Sharon Bruce, Bob Stephenson, Kyle McLeod, Ryan Husband, Justin Turton, and Kevin Grotheim, as well as Mayor Maureen Weiterman, Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Trew, and Assistant CAO Rachel Sillers.
The meeting was broadcast live on the Town of Outlook's Facebook page.
A number of topics and items were discussed, including the following highlights.
Public Works Report
Prepared by Luke Lockhart
- Street sweeping has been ongoing as the leaves are falling, we will continue to keep up on this until it snows.
- Gravel roads, including the highway bypass route have been needing graded more often than expected, we have dedicated more time to this, and will continue to do so as needed.
- Rick Neminishin joined me for a tour of town owned gravel roads to do a primary assessment on them, we noted things that we could do ourselves in the spring to better them, and he will be providing cost estimates for the roads that are beyond our limitations to fix.
- We will be doing another round of pothole patching before winter; primarily on Saskatchewan Avenue where it was closed off for construction, but also throughout the whole town.
- Salt has been ordered and mixed with sand in preparation for winter.
- Back alleys are in the process of being graded; with the Sasktel upgrades happening in town, we have had to skip over many due to either active work sites, or sask first call markings within the alley way, but have been in contact with the contractors to coordinate.
- Contech is nearly done the earthworks for the highway water and sewer project; we have one more spot fix in the sewer main that will be done today, we anticipate the sewer main relining crew to be here Tuesday to get started on that phase of the project.
- Strike has started our water treatment plant upgrade project; both on site at the plant digging in for the equalization tank, and beside our main sewage lift station tying in new sewer and manholes. We expect them to keep going until freeze up, and then return in the spring to finish up.
- ATAP Infrastructure will be here to install the new valve in the clearwell as soon as they have received all the parts, expecting to be a month or so yet.
- McGills will be in town within the next 2 weeks to do our annual sewer main flushing, as well as cleaning lift stations.
- The landfill decommissioning project is moving along very well; the clay base liner is complete, and has passed all required testing parameters, and they are nearly done the subsoil layer.
Remaining work includes topsoil layer, seeding, and fence installation.
- Compost pickup has slowed down some now, but we will continue to pick up until it snows.
Assistant CAO Report
Prepared by Rachel Sillers
2024 Budget: The Executive Team had an opportunity to briefly review a draft operating budget for 2024 earlier this month. We were able to have a good discussion on budgetary needs and anticipated revenues. The Capital Plan was also reviewed, but requires some additional work, mostly acquiring pricing for projects and setting realistic timelines for project starts and completion dates. I also need to dedicate some additional time to our amortization figures, and our new contracted service agreements.
I enjoyed attending my first SEDA Summit in Saskatoon on October 11th & 12th. There were many different Economic Development topics covered, and lots to think about. I’m grateful for the opportunity.
We’ve continued to see an increase in Pre-Authorized Debit applications. In August 2023 we had 76 accounts register, which is now up to 120. While it hasn’t been without its hiccups we are confident this is a convenient and beneficial service offered to our customers.
Tangible Capital Assets review and spreadsheet. This project has been on-going for several months and planned to be completed before year end. Update: The project is still on-going, but we will aim to complete the final portion (separating each linear block of street and below street infrastructure) while our 2023 audit is being completed, in order to work with and stay on the same page as our auditor.
Trew spoke on Bylaw 10(2023) Animal Keeping, which had been defeated at the previous council meeting following discussion after it was requested by two residents that they be allowed to keep chickens on their property. The bylaw was defeated and it was then requested that it come back after being retooled and reworded to not include chickens in a residential area.
In addition to that change, the new bylaw also includes verbiage on bee keeping, and touches on the keeping of additional animals.
After some further discussion, a motion was made to pass the first reading of the bylaw, which was accepted.
Council then addressed Bylaw 11(2023) Cemetery Operations, which was also being presented for its first reading. Following some discussion on some key areas of the bylaw, including the leaving of items on monuments and graves and the holding of events such as "parades" and "processions", it was decided to pass a motion for the first reading, which was accepted.
Reports of Administration
A talk on long term borrowing was had following a report from Assistant CAO Sillers. No decisions were made on this night as the report was for information purposes only, though a decision will be made at the next meeting of Council with a bylaw expected to be attached.
It was said that the Town planned several capital projects for the 2023 year, with the two largest ones being the highway water sewer main replacement and the first phase of the water treatment plant upgrades and raw water intake. The current phase of the main replacement is nearing completion and the water plant project is ramping up and the Town is "well into" its operating line of credit, meaning they will require a large influx of cash in the next 30-60 days.
Cash flow has also been "greatly impacted" by two other capital projects, those being the landfill decommissioning and the stormwater outfalls, both of which are partially funded by grant monies. However, those are received as progress payments mostly after the invoices have been paid. Presently, it was said the Town is below its debt limit of just over $4 million.
There was discussion in the room about a number of points from the report, but again, there were no decisions made or motions passed from any of the report's findings, as that is expected to be done at the next council meeting. Mayor Weiterman encouraged everyone to read the report and come up with questions to pose at the next council meeting to address and answer before they move forward on the report with a bylaw.
A reminder was issued to the public about the public hearing to be held on Tuesday, November 7 in the town's court room regarding the Town's community planning and zoning bylaws. The question and answer portion is set for 6:30 pm, while the public hearing start time is set for 7:30.
Council then discussed setting a date for a Budget Committee meeting, and CAO Trew commended the work by the team led by Sillers in preparing a draft budget for the Town. They would like to present the draft to Council at the Legion Hall for a supper meeting, where key members of each team would present findings to Council with the assistance of Sillers.
Three main things that the town's team went into with in relation to the draft budget's creation were no tax increases for 2024; inflationary increases on the staff costs have to meet a 6.5% inflation from 2022; and that the Town will be finishing capital projects in 2024 and all projects are to be funded by ammortization only, aside from what had been previously discussed.
The date for such a meeting between the Town and Council was set for November 15.