OUTLOOK - The town council of Outlook met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday night, November 10. Present was all of Council; Bob Stephenson, Sharon Bruce, Kyle McLeod, Kevin Grotheim, Justin Turton, and Ryan Husband, as well as Mayor Maureen Weiterman, Chief Administrator Kevin Trew, and office clerk Crystal Fisher.
The meeting was broadcast on the Town's Facebook page.
A number of topics and items were discussed, including the following highlights.
In discussing Bylaw 13 (2021) Traffic Bylaw, it was said that the updated street now known as Tollefson Drive has been incorporated into the new bylaw, and that yield signs will be placed at different spots along the way. In addition, there will be new signage at Railway Avenue, and there was discussion over whether to place signage at other places in town. The recommendation was that Council pass the bylaw, which they did.
In discussing Bylaw 14 (2021) A Bylaw to Close a Lane, it was said that the intent was to close a lane located by AG Foods, related to the land sale that was done some time ago. Administrator Trew said the risk was all done related to it. Councillor Turton recommended doing two readings at this meeting in order for ratepayers to learn more and possibly have a say before the third reading. Councillor Grotheim countered by saying that the public had their chance a year ago to say anything, and Councillor McLeod added that they'd received some letters. Mayor Weiterman said if Council would like to do all three readings, then they could. The first and second readings were held, and permission was sought to seek a third reading, but the vote that was then held was not unanimous and therefore, the third reading was not held.
Reports of Administration, Staff and Committees Requiring Decision
The topic of the Town giving out year-end gift cards to all of its staff was discussed. The cards are a budgeted expense, and they're given out in part to help promote Outlook's business community and to keep people shopping in town. At $200 per card, the total cost came to $5800 altogether. For the first time, the cards will be split up so to speak, consisting of utilizing $100 for use at AG Foods and $100 for use at Co-op locations. The cards will be given to 57 employees of the Town.
There will be no all staff (and spouses) Christmas party or year end function for staff in 2021.
Council discussed the Town's strategic plan presentation for future public input. As the Town has been working on a strategic plan, including some committee work that was done that particular Wednesday, it was said that once it's complete, the plan is to bring it back to the public with a draft finalized so that Council can receive any public input on it. The plan is to have a draft done by the end of November. The public can expect a survey to be released, which they'll be asked to fill out.
Council discussed the appointment of Outlook resident Jill Lee to the Recreation Committee. She feels that she can add to the conversations that are surrounding recreation in the community. The motion was made to appoint Lee to the committee, and it was carried.
In relation to the topic of a services agreement with an appeal board, the following information was provided by Administrator Trew.
The appeal board services agreement was in regards to:
- Board of Revision (BoR) – This is the board where assessment appeals are heard. Each year when the assessment notices are sent out by the Town based on SAMA’s valuations (our contracted assessor as the Town of Outlook does not have the capacity nor the funds or desire to employ its own assessor at this time) and while the “roll of the Town of Outlook is open” there is a 45 day appeal period (60 in a revaluation year – every 4 years, 2021 was a revaluation year) where the property owner can appeal the assessed value of the property. Prior to the appeal being heard by the board of revision, SAMA and the municipality will work with the property owner to come to an agreement to adjust if it is deemed warranted. The board will first look at the appeal to ensure it is an appealable matter (often it is not, because the appeal is not based on fact but conjecture and or the argument is about the property taxes will be too high). The board of revision is an independent group of people that are at least arms length from Town Council. After a decision is made by the board of revision, the next level of appeals available for the property owner is with the Provincial Mediation Board.
- Development Appeals Board (DAB) – This is the board where development appeals are heard. When development permits are denied (either by Council in the case of a discretionary use or by the development officer (currently me) in the case of a permitted use the applicant has the opportunity to appeal the decision of the development officer or Council. The development appeals board is an independent group of people that are at least arms length from Town Council. After a decision is made by the development appeals board, the next level of appeals for either the applicant, the Town or an affected party is with the Provincial Mediation Board. I have had quite a bit of experience with a district development appeals board and find it interesting – recently I was secretary for a board that overturned a municipalities decision on behalf of a property owner then a neighbouring property owner appealed the DAB’s decision to PMB and won overturning the DAB decision and reverting back to the original decision of the municipality, the development did not proceed – what was really interesting in this case was that the municipality WANTED the development to proceed but had no choice but to turn it down because of its own bylaw – a real learning experience for me to know the importance of having community plans, zoning bylaws, building bylaws and development bylaws that reflect what Council (and the community) wants.
Krismer and Associates has been our chosen contractor for these services for some time, however they are ceasing business. While Krismer and Associates did serve the Town of Outlook in 2021 when being called to hear an assessment appeal, they do not plan to do this any more.
Western Municipal Consulting located in Meota, Saskatchewan is the closest contractor offering these services. If the Town of Outlook wished, we could appoint people to each of these boards from the general public and then we would need to invest in training these members as well. I had also checked with Waterwolf to see if there was a move to establishing a district board of revision or a district development appeals board. Since Krismer and Associates served most Waterwolf municipalities as well, I suspect our group will all opt to go with Western Municipal Consulting.
Town Council has made a resolution to contract Board of Revision, Development Appeals Board and Administration Services with WMC for one year with the option to renew effective January 1, 2022. The annual fee is $250 with additional charges if the Town is required to use their services.