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Message from the Municipality of Norfolk Treherne - 2nd Quarterly Newsletter

 

             Message from Norfolk Treherne Municipal Council

 

Covid-19   Three months ago Norfolk Treherne Municipal Council reached out to our residents to provide information about both the current Covid-19 situation and plans for the future.

 First, the Province and our Municipality understand that due to careful handling of the pandemic, impact on our residents has been much less than in many other jurisdictions. At this time, however, the worldwide rate of infection continues to increase, so we must acknowledge that until a vaccine is available, our lives will be impacted by this disease.

 Our Municipal staff are continuing to follow all provincial guidelines, updating as the guidelines evolve. At present, the Municipal office is fully staffed with our permanent employees.  Access to the office continues to be restricted, but residents can phone for any required assistance. Please see the information posted on our Municipal website.

 All of our actions are subject to the overriding need for social distancing. Social distancing has been shown to effectively slow the virus infection rate, which in turn reduces the impact on our medical system.

 Council is proud of the way our Municipal staff has worked to maintain our Municipal government in the midst of a pandemic. It has not been easy. Thank you.

 Council has started to meet in person again. Council chamber desks are spaced out to meet the social distancing requirement. To fulfill the Manitoba Municipal Act requirements regarding public access, all meetings and hearings are now recorded and the recordings are available to the public upon request.

 In this Covid-19 world, your Council continues to work on important projects. The following is a brief summary of some of these projects:

 2020 Budget   The 2020 budget was delayed by issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic and by the need for a special services levy to fund the costs of paving in Treherne.

 There are two significant items in the 2020 budget that affect all taxpayers. First, the Early Tax Payment Discount has been removed. Removing this discount saves our Municipality about $20,000 per year. This discount gave a maximum of 2% reduction in taxes to those who paid early.  Second, the General Municipal At Large Mill Rate has been reduced from 12.575 to 12.000 – a reduction of 4.5%. This reduces every taxpayer's levy by 4.5% per dollar of assessed value, so many residents should see their property taxes reduced this year. By reducing the Mill Rate, Council has met our goal of holding taxation below the annual cost of living, as was done last year, in order to gradually reduce the real taxation rate.

 The rural gravel budget was increased again this year, and we have started budgeting for ditch surveying and drainage projects. The new grader has been delivered. The paving in Treherne that is in addition to repairing the damage caused by the water and sewer project, will be paid for by the special services levy.

 Treherne Water Quality   Council has entered into an agreement with the Manitoba Water Services Board (MWSB) to fund a study in order to determine the root cause of the poor water quality in Treherne. The cost of this study is $40,000 of which MNT pays 50% through the Treherne Utility Reserve. Additionally, the Treherne water treatment plant is receiving an upgrade this year at a budgeted cost of $144,000. This cost is once again shared equally with the MWSB, with the municipal portion being paid out of the Gas Tax Fund.

 Rathwell Water Treatment Plant   The Rathwell water treatment plant is also receiving an upgrade this year. The cost of this work is budgeted at $80,400, again with a 50% cost sharing agreement with the MWSB and the municipal portion being paid out of the Gas Tax Fund.

 Fibre Optics Internet   Council has signed formal agreements with Westman Communications and the Hutterian Broadband Network Inc. (HBNI) for the installation of a fibre optics network for our municipality.  The residential sign-up target for Westman has been achieved, and installation planning is progressing well. Lavenham will be served by HBNI.  MNT will pay a total of $232,500 for the installation of this network, which is about 10% of the total cost. The Municipal share of this cost is coming from the Community Development Initiative funding.

 An agreement has been worked out with HBNI so that our rural residents can participate in this project if the network passes within economic distance. MNT will contribute the first $500 of the cost to install each connection. HBNI will determine the total cost, install the network and act as internet service provider for these connections.

 Council continues to reach out to Xplornet and HBNI to get the fibre network in service to the rural wireless internet towers. Rural internet download speed will increase dramatically once this happens.

 Rathwell Sewer    Roger Bouvier continues to work with CAO Jackie Clayton on this project. MNT has signed a purchase agreement for the land required for the Rathwell sewage lagoons. Open House events to explain the proposed system, discuss the project time-line and outline estimated costs have been scheduled for Rathwell on June 25th.  Presently, scheduled times are 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Affected residents were notified and asked to sign up in advance at the MNT office (204-723-2044 or info@treherne.ca). Due to Covid-19, attendance at each event is limited, so additional meetings will be scheduled, if necessary, on this day to accommodate all who want to attend. Public Health and Manitoba Water Services Board representatives will also be attending this information meeting. If Council decides to proceed subsequent to this meeting, the next step is the environmental study.

 Bosc Bridge   The Bosc Bridge is in the 2020 budget, but the provider of choice appears to have gone out of business.  Engineering firms are being interviewed and new quotes obtained for the bridge. Council hopes that infrastructure funding may be made available to stimulate the economy as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed. If external funding can be obtained, cost to the Municipality would likely be much reduced, and additional infrastructure work could be undertaken.

 South Central Gas   MNT has rejoined the GPSG and has paid the levy for 2020.

 Municipal Pool Liner   Council has budgeted the funds to top up the pool committee’s savings in order to assist in the pool liner replacement this year. Although the pandemic may affect these plans, the goal is still to get the project done this year.

 Municipal Campground   The Cottonwood campground has opened this year in reduced mode due to Covid-19 restrictions. As the entire Province moves forward with its reopening strategy, the campground operations will be modified accordingly.  With the announcement of the pool not opening this year, it is expected that usage will be less.

 H Line Drainage Project   Drainage will be improved on H Line between 46W and 44W. In addition to this, ditch clean-out will take place on 44W between 48N and 51N. This is assuming that all required permits can be obtained. The estimated cost of this work is $48,000.

 In closing, we urge you to please continue practicing social distancing and self-isolation, when required, in order to flatten the curve of the pandemic infection rate. Our community can support and protect one another by taking these vital steps.

 Please stay safe.

                                                                                                               

Reeve                                     Will Eert

Deputy Reeve                       Robert Davy

Councillors                            Ryan Gaultier

                                                Gilles Guertin

                                                Albert Lesage

                                                Larry Marlatt

                                                Steve Nicholson