Bashaw’s water meter replacement project is over budget

Highlights from the Town of Bashaw’s Coucnil meeting on March 18

Bashaw Sign. (Photo Courtesy of Town of Bashaw)

Bashaw Sign. (Photo Courtesy of Town of Bashaw)

By Kevin J Sabo

For the Bashaw Star

Water

The Town of Bashaw water meter replacement project is going over budget.

When the project was first proposed, it was thought that only 80 meters in the community read in gallons, and would need to be replaced; however, once the work began it was discovered that the total number of meters needing to be replaced was closer to 125.

Back in January, council approved an expenditure of just over $46,000 for the project, to be paid for out of the federal gas-tax fund. To date, 77 meters have been installed, and according to Town of Bashaw Chief Administrative Officer Theresa Fuller, another 43 need to be installed.

“Those 43 are going to surpass our budget, so we went to council asking if we can extend the amount by $20,640, for a total of $67,200,” said Fuller.

“We would (again) be accessing the federal gas-tax fund.”

Council approved the request.

Another discussion concerning the Town operated water system had to do community water invoicing.

“Through our water meter change outs and evaluations, it came up that the community hall and curling club don’t pay for water,” said Fuller.

“This discussion piece was to bring it forward that many other groups within the town do pay for water consumption, garbage, and everything else. Council felt it prudent to treat everyone equally.”

With the community hall lease needing to be renewed, council has made the decision to begin charging the community hall for water used. The curling club, in the meantime, still has an active lease which was re-signed in 2019 that clearly states that water would not be charged to the organization. Council has decided that the curling club can remain as is for the time being, however, once the current lease expires renegotiation will include the addition of water charges.

Lots for sale

Three properties for sale by the town on 55 Avenue and one on 52 street are being added to the website www.govdeals.com, a website commonly used by governments of all levels to sell surplus equipment and property. There is no charge to the town for the service. A five per cent fee is added to the price of any properties sold, to be paid for by the buyer.

“Council agreed to have administration put them online for sale through govdeals,” said Fuller.

“They felt that the pricing (for the lots) is where they would like to keep it.”

In addition to the four lots being listed on the website, four other lots on 55a Street were also discussed, with council wanting to look into options for seniors housing on the properties.

“We want to have a conversation with local construction companies for ideas for senior’s housing specifi to independent living,” said Fuller,

“We’re going to book some sort of community consultation with builders in the area.”

Strategic Plan

Town of Bashaw council has approved the updated strategic plan, a planning document used to guide the municipality towards the future.

“We presented the revised strategic plan,” said Fuller.

“It was presented for information to confirm that administration had gotten it correct through its discussion.”

The strategic plan was discussed with council after a budgeting webinar held back on Mar. 11.

“We went through the past strategic plan, and then chatted about areas where we wanted to keep focusing, and which were lower priority,” said Fuller.

Part of the focus shift in the strategic plan is shifting the budget away from a line-item budget to more of a priority-based budget.

“Many of our council value being able to go through the budget line by line, and so over time we will kind of evolve itn more, linking it to the strategic plan,” said Fuller.

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