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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 19, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Lethbridge County's looking at 60-mill tax rate for 1974 By WARREN CARAGATA Herald Staff Writer Non-commercial ratepayers in Lethbridge County may find themselves on the paying end of a tax rate that could end up as high as 60 mills 20 mills less than last year but without the comfortable cushion of the property tax reduction grant Municipal estimates tabled before the regular meeting of Lethbridge County council Thursday indicate that unless councillors start cutting expenditures, which they will probably do, the mill rate needed to raise the estimated 1974 municipal expenditures of will be 43 4, or eight mills higher than the 1973 municipal mill rate of 354 The provincial government has removed the tax burden of financing basic education costs from farms and residences Only corporate farms and other corporations will still be assessed on d mill rate tor the School Foundation Program Last year, the county mill rate was 80 3, made up of 29 mills for the School Foundation Program, 15 9 mills for supplementary school expenditures, and 35 4 mills for municipal expenditures Preliminary spending estimates for the county's municipal department are about higher than last year's estimates with most of the increase attributable to public works spending Botore more estimates can b( 'i.iwn up pifcise figures on pi inual government grants available to the county have to be determined Bob Grant, county manager, told the meeting he expects the amounts of provincial assistance grants should be available in about a week When those amounts are known, county council will begin the process of drawing up a firm budget The county school committee will meet May 7 to consider its 1974 estimates But councillors discussed what the total 1974 mill rate might be, some council members suggested a one mill levy across the county to raise money for lecreational purposes Of the 35 4 mills assessed last year, 11 mills went to the Oldman River Recreation Board for recreational activities in the county But there have been complaints and suggestions from councillors in the towns and villages within county limits that county residents use urban recreational facilities without paying their fair share of construction and maintenance costs A letter from Coaldale Mayor A F Blakie, considered by county council Thursday, asked the county to levy a special tax assessment to help his community finance the Coaldale Sportsplex, which had a 1973 operating deficit of about Supporting the idea of an additional recreational levy, Reeve Dick Papworth said people in the county use facilities in towns as much as urban residents do He suggested the money raised through a one-mill levy could be given to the recreation board, which could then distribute the funds to the towns and villages as it sees fit "We should be doing a little more for recreation in the he said The matter was tabled to the next county council meeting May 18 in order to have the subject voted on by a full council Two councillors were not present during the discussion District The Lethbridge Herald Local news SECOND SECTION Lethbridge, Alberta, Friday, April 19, 1974 Shall we dance RICK ERVIN photo It's not as easy as it looks and even the buddy system doesn't prevent pile-ups, these sidewalk skaters learned Thursday Debra Fox, 15, and Karen Redekopp, 16, are visiting the city during the Easter school holiday They live in Silver Valley, in the Peace River country Computer may speed up assessments Computer aided assessments would result in Alberta being assessed every year instead of every seven years, says Lethbridge s deputy assessor John Dawson, past- president of The Alberta Assessors Association, told The Herald municipalities are required by law to conduct an assessment every seven years However, some municipalities are lucky to gel the job done every seven years and have to apply to the minister of municipal affairs for an extension It would be 'better to do it (make assessments) more often but we don't have the time or men to do it He said it takes three or four years to assess all the homes in Calgary A computer-assisted assessment could be done yearly With such long periods of time between assessments, a person whose home has just been recently assessed can pay more in property taxes than a person who hasn t had his home assessed in a long time Robert Gustafson. statistical consultant for the California State Board of Equalization, told The Herald assessors in California use computers to assist them in their work Mr Gustafson was in the city to speak to the annual meeting of the Alberta Assessors Association He said the use of computers has speeded up the assessment process considerably because it takes the clerical work away from assessors This used to take up 80-per-cent of assessors time and now he's able to spend all his time assessing Before, in a typical county an assessor could do nine liomes a day on a four-year cycle With the aid of a computer he can do 100 homes a day on a one-year cycle Mr Gustafson said the computer assesses whole neighborhoods at a time One of the basic jobs of the assessor is to check these assessments and make any necessary adjustments If a person has made an addition to his house this won't show up in the computer assessment so the assessor makes the adjustment Mr Gustafson said another advantage of using computers is they enable the assessments to be current with land values In California, a house is assessed at 25-per-cent of its market value In Alberta residences are assessed at 45- per-cent of the property's 1963 replacement value Mr Dawson said using the replacement value of a house is confusing to home owners They would understand their assessment better if it was based on market value If computers are used it's much easier to use the market value of a home Mi Gustafson said the use of computers in making assessments is spreading eastward across the U S He said Toronto may use computers in making assessments next year Alberta assessors have begun using computers in land assessments Mr Dawson said this is being done as an experiment City and fire dept. break off wage talks By ANDY OGLE Herald Staff Writer Wage negotiations between the city and its firemen have broken off and will go to compulsory arbitration, probably next month The firefighters want a one- year contract at a month for a first-class fireman who now gets a month Shoplift fines to stiffen Shoplifters appearing in provincial court will bt facing stiffer fines beginning this week Provincial Judge L W Hudson said he is going to double fines for shoplifters in an effort to combat the upswing in thefts from stores A person convicted of shoplifting for the first time usually is fined and costs "There's too much of it, Provincial Judge Hudson said Thursday, and it's people with absolutely no need to steal If a question of need is involved, the provincial judge said he would take it into consideration in imposing the fine 'But thats he said "Most people offer to pay for the goods when they are caught They often cry profusely when they are caught and when they appear in he went on, "but their remorse is over being caught A shoplifting conviction gives a person a criminal record, something which may affect his chances for getting certain jobs, one city policeman commented People don't realize this until they are fingerprinted and photographed for police records, he said The city says this is too much because it would be a larger increase than the approximately 10-per-cer.t wage hike most other city unions settled for this year But Lawrence Dzuren, spokesman for the firefighters, said Thursday wages of city firemen are below the provincial average of wages paid firemen in all the other major centres in the province ''We feel there's no justification for us being relegated to a lower spot when we have as much responsibility as the other departments and more with an ambulances then he said The firefighters also want two more statutory holidays and a supplemental compensation clause included in their contract M Dzuren said the Lethbridge Fire Department is the only one of the large fire departments in the province without the compsensation clause which provides additional financial protection to a fireman's family if he is injured or killed The firemen's last contract, a' 27-month agreement, expired March 31 The contract covers some 82 fire department personnel below the chief and deputy chief rank A first-class fireman's wage is taken as the base wage with other wages paid on a percentage above and below that depending on rank It takes four years for a fire- fighter to reach the first-class level Provincial law prohibits strike action by firemen The city and the firefighters will each appoint one representative to an arbitration board and will attempt to select a neutral party to be chairman If they can't agree on a chairmen the province will be asked to appoint one The decision of the arbitration board is binding on both parties Herald Legislature Bureau EDMONTON Agriculture Minister Hugh Horner says Alberta won't sign any more commodity agreements with Ottawa until the federal government shows some leadership m agriculture Dr Horner told Harry Strom (SC Cypress) in the legislature Thursday the federal government has failed, to live up to a commitment under an egg marketing arrangement to prevent the United States dumping cheap eggs in Canada Alberta only signed the agreement with former agriculture minister Bud Olsen after being given that assurance, he said We have no intention of signing any further national commodity plans until such time as we get some leadership and clear thinking out of the federal government in Ottawa Dr Horner said a turkey marketing agreement signed but not in operation yet and a broiler marketing agreement could be affected Outside the legislature he said American eggs were being dumped in Ontario but none had come into Alberta to his knowledge He said Canada should and could under international tariff agreements turn back the cheap eggs We should treat them just like they treat us We ve had potatoes shipped back because they were sent through Idaho HALFWAY HOUSE DECISION APPEALED BY BOTH SIDES Two appeals have been launched against a Municipal Planning decision to allow the establishment, for one year, of a halfway house for alcoholics and dependent drug abusers in Lethbridge The appeals have been filed by a group of developers opposing the location of the house and by the Halfway Acres Society who want the one-year restriction lifted Norm Cowie, regional director of the Alberta Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Commission, told The Herald his group is opposing the one-year trial period because it eliminates any chance of acquiring the mortgage the society is trying to get The type of mortgage the group would have to get for a one- year period is more costly than one if location was permanent, he said Land owners in the area have been protesting the establishment of the house in a duplex in the 3400 block on Spruce Drive because they fear it will lower land values in the area The Municipal Planning Commission decided March 20 to allow plans for the house to go ahead with a review of the house's operation after one year The appeals will be heard by the Development Appeals Board April 24 Rising prices spur clean-up Ottawa 'lax on9 egg market pact By AL SCARTH Herald Legislature Bureau EDMONTON Rising prices for scrap steel will make the clean-up mob on derelict cars much easier, Bill Yurko, minister of the envnonment told a legislature committee Thursday We're talking about a Ion and private enterprise will run all over the province to pick them (derelicts) up for you Mr Yurko told a committee studying his departmental estimates He said the province may make money on its efforts to get rid of the derelicts in future But the program to collect derelicts has so far been hampered by bad weather and heavy snow, he said Only of a budget has been spent The province expects to collect bids on to 10 000 cars in an anti-litter week planned for May Mr Yurko said the province has considered collecting deposit, similar to bottle deposits, on cars sold in the province But, he said, the problem is not considered that severe and private enterprise is doing a good job of collection The minister told the committee the province will be able to make automobile pollution control devices mandatory under legislation to be passes during tfiis session In the meantime, any mechanic can remove tne devices with no fear of prosectuion While the controls have to be installed under federal legislation, he said their maintenance and removal were provincial responsibilities While the province has recourse to making the devices mandatory it does not yet think that step necessary Brochure to boost convention trade Copies of a new city convention brochure are being circulated to local service clubs other organizations hotels and restaurants to encourage conventions here Produced by the city s economic development department, the color brochure was prepared by Lien Palmer of the city and Associates Dog show open Saturday The largest dog show and obedience trials in. the history of the Lethbridge and Disti let Kennel Club will held Saturday and Sunday at the Exhibition Pavilion Show secretary, Mrs L G Hove says 623 dogs, representing 83 breeds, will compete for ribbons, championship and obedience' titles and trophies each day There will be two separate shows and trials with different judges for each event A small admission will be charged It contains details on city facilities and developments as well as general information about Lethbridge, plus several photos of city scenes Dennis 0 Connell director of business development and public relations, said his department had nine requests for convention material in the first three months of this year Some copies of the brochure the first specifically aimed at the convention market, have been printed It was paid for from a 1973 budget allocation, but production delays held up completion of the brochure ;