County of Stettler Sign. (File Photo)

County of Stettler Council looks at Buffalo Lake water levels

Carbon tax rebates & councillor meal compensation also discussed on Feb. 14

County Council Notes – Feb. 14, 2018

Buffalo Lake Water Levels

Councillor Cheri Neitz brought forward information about the current water levels as discussed by the Buffalo Lake Management Team during their meeting on January 29. At last measure over this winter, the (FSL) or full supply level, showed the lake was 15 cms below normal. At this time, another measurement will be done on the lake after the spring run-off.

This has led to concerns that water may eventually need to be pumped into the lake to maintain the water levels. If that becomes necessary, there are fears that Prussian Carp may invade the lake, as screens have been so far been unable to filter out the larvae. Currently, the invasive species has been found in both the Red Deer River and the Blindman River, but has not transferred to either Gull Lake or Buffalo Lake.

Carbon Tax Rebate

Stettler County Council has again approved a carbon tax rebate to one of their gravel contractors.

James Marshall Trucking Ltd. had requested a rebate of 2.68 cents/litre to offset the increase in operating costs due to the carbon tax introduced since the contract was signed. The County says this will amount to a $608.00 rebate based on past fuel consumption rates. As of January 1, 2018, Alberta’s carbon levy on gasoline increased from 4.49/litre to 6.73 cents/litre.

The five-year gravel contract was approved to the tune of $4,162,500 in October 2014, before the NDP government came to power in May 2015, and later introduced the tax on fuels consumed in the province. Contractors are able to bring their contracts back to council to renegotiate unforeseen inflationary concerns.

In June of 2017, the County agreed to approve an increase of 5.35 cents per litre adjustment to the fuel consumption rate for James Marshall Trucking Ltd. for work on the Central East and South East contracts. The basis of this rebate was that the contractor could not have foreseen the cost of the carbon levy that was set at 4.49 cents/litre in 2017.

James Marshall Trucking also approached the county to renegotiate the contract a first time in February of 2016, after the fuel tax was raised by the NDP in November of 2015. At this time, the previous council approved a rebate of the four extra cents/litre, which was retroactive to when this tax came into effect.

This followed a four cent increase in the fuel tax by the outgoing PC government in March of 2015, which was the first adjustment to the rate since 1991.

Council Remuneration Policy

Stettler County Council has passed a new policy regarding compensation to councillors for any meal expenses. The issue first arose in May of last year, when concerns were brought forward to council over the rates being charged back to the county for meals at out of town conferences.

Councillors will now need to provide receipts in order to be reimbursed, with a maximum compensation of $65 a day. Receipts for alcohol and tips will also not be accepted. Previous policy stated a councillor could be reimbursed $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $25 for a supper without a receipt.

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