Saturday October 25, 2014

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Council tables day care's request

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Estevan City Council is deadlocked on whether to continue an annual tax abatement request from the Pure Energy Early Learning Centre and Estevan Day Care Co-operative.

The day care has been taxed as a residential property, instead of as a commercial entity, for many years, saving the non-profit agency thousands of dollars. But they received a letter earlier this month indicating that the tax break will end this year due to the City's fiscal pinch.

Patrick Sullivan, speaking on behalf of Day Care board members and staff who attended the August 11 council meeting, told council that if the day care is taxed as a commercial property, it would cost them $5,721, or about 1.5 per cent of their annual revenues.

Parents will likely have to pay more to have their children use the centre, he said.

Sullivan noted child care fees have increased 25 per cent over the last five years. Many children come from single parent homes, and the day care allows those parents to enter the workplace.

Sullivan said he would like to see a mill rate factor created for organizations such as day cares, so that they don't have to send a tax abatement request to council each year.

"It would also make a distinction for groups and activities that do not fall within the traditional cloak of commercial properties," said Sullivan.

Mayor Roy Ludwig, and Councillors Greg Hoffort and Brian Johnson, were in favour of the abatement, as they said the day care did not receive adequate notice. Councillors Lori Carr, Kevin Smith and Dennis Moore were opposed, so the issue was tabled to council's next meeting on August 25.

Councillor Trevor Knibbs was not at the meeting.

Other highlights from the meeting were:

*Rod March has been hired as the new parks manager for Leisure Services. March was previously in Dawson Creek, B.C., and has a background in natural resource management. He's been in Estevan since August 9, and he said he has already met lots of people and received a lot of opinions on different issues.

*Highway 39 will be resurfaced all the way to 16th Avenue in Estevan.

*A total of 48,270 kilomgrams (or more than 53 tonnes) of materials were recycled in Estevan in June, according to Regens Disposal.

*Council approved a couple recommendations from the traffic safety committee, including a four-way stop at the intersection of Nicholson Road and Wellock Road; and a loading zone in front of Rosewood Estates at 1226 Third Street. The committee continues to have discussions about reducing the speed limits on most roads from 50 to 40 kilometres per hour.

*Three readings were given to a bylaw to designate school zones instead of reduced speed zones on roads around Estevan's schools. Fines will be greater for those caught speeding in school zones. School zones will be in enforced around the clock, and throughout the year.

*Second and third reading was given to bylaws that will allow for an Estevan Diversified Services to proceed with a project, and for a hotel to be constructed in the 100 block of King Street.


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