May 12, 2020
Kneehill County COVID-19 Update #8
On April 30, 2020, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Alberta’s relaunch strategy--a safely staged COVID-19 recovery plan to gradually reopen businesses and services and get people back to work.
In light of this announcement, Kneehill County is also working to gradually re-open our facilities and in-person services, while taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our staff and residents. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation daily and will follow all enacted public health measures put in place by the Province and Alberta Health Services.
Please note the following updates to Kneehill County Services, and stay tuned for more announcements as our relaunch progresses.
Current Kneehill County Service Updates:
- Kneehill County Parks, Horseshoe Canyon and Orkney Viewpoint, to open May 15, 2020
Horseshoe Canyon and Orkney Viewpoint will open for the public Friday, May 15, 2020, with no access to facilities. Hard surfaces will not be sanitized at these locations. Use at your own risk. Please continue to practice good hygiene and physical distancing when accessing these parks, and do not visit the parks if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Kneehill County Office to allow in-person appointments starting Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Services offered through email, telephone and online methods are preferred, however, if you require in-person services at the County office, please call 403-443-5541 to schedule an appointment with staff. No walk-ins will be accepted. Safety protocols, increased sanitization and proper barriers will be in place to ensure the safety of residents and staff during appointments.
- Kneehill County Campgrounds to open June 1, 2020
Keiver’s Lake, Torrington, Braconnier Dam, and Swalwell Dam Camgrounds will open to the public June 1, 2020, at 50% capacity and with restrictions in place. Group sites are closed. Self-contained units only. No washrooms or outhouses will be available. Reservations and payments for campsites will only be taken online, starting June 1, 2020. Please continue to practice good hygiene and physical distancing when accessing these campgrounds, and do not visit the campgrounds if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Please note: All Kneehill County playgrounds, including sports courts and ball diamonds, remain closed until further notice. (This includes Keiver’s Lake, Torrington, Swalwell, Huxley & Wimborne.)
Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 page, for the most updated information for Kneehill County residents, including a summary of current Kneehill County service and process changes, frequently asked questions and links to information from the Province and Alberta Health Services.
April 29, 2020
2020 Tax Rate Bylaw
At the April 28, 2020 Council Meeting, Kneehill County Council passed Tax Rate Bylaw 1814. Under the new bylaw, changes to the residential tax burden are modest, non-residential gas producers will see an overall reduction in tax burden, while some commercial businesses and farmland will see a modest increase to support continued services levels and investment in the community.
There are a number of factors that contributed to the slight increase in rates. While Kneehill County Council and staff have undertaken a number of cost-cutting measures to compensate for anticipated loss of revenues, provincial policies have created major challenges for the County in 2020.
A portion of the costs related to RCMP policing will now be paid by Kneehill County. Starting at $160,000 in 2020, this cost is expected to grow to $480,000 by 2023.
The 35% property tax reduction relief to shallow gas producers will not be provincially funded in 2020, representing a loss to the County of approximately $1.9 million, or 7% of 2020’s budget revenue. In addition, the County will see a 25% reduction in provincial capital funding from 2020-2022, for a further loss of approximately $600,000.
“To say it’s been a challenging year for all of us in the County is an understatement,” said Kneehill County Reeve, Jerry Wittstock. “It’s important that we keep our service levels up for residents, continue supporting our communities and make solid investments in our future—now more than ever.”
Under the new tax bylaw, the average hamlet home will see an increase of $10 a year for municipal services and a further increase of $5 for Provincial Education support, with the average acreage owner seeing an increase of $25 per year for municipal services and a further $12.50 for Provincial Education support.
It’s important to note that the Education portion of each tax bill is not a charge from Kneehill County, but a requisition from the province. Kneehill County collects this portion on their behalf, and forwards the payment onto the province.
As in previous years, a minimum tax of $100 per parcel will be assessed for the municipal levy. Kneehill County’s combined assessment/taxation notices will be mailed out to ratepayers June 15th, 2020. Taxes will be due October 31, 2020.
April 28, 2020, @ 4:00 PM
Kneehill County COVID-19 Update #7
Kneehill County staff and administration continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation daily, following the enacted public health measures and advisories in place by the Province of Alberta and Alberta Health Services to ensure the continued health and safety of our staff and residents.
While we’re working to maintain most County services during the pandemic, residents may experience disruptions to certain services, or a change in the delivery of some County services due to COVID-19, which can’t be helped. Kneehill County has Business Continuity processes and protocols in place to ensure that no matter what happens, essential services will take priority. Services like roads, water and fire, will not be disrupted.
Current Kneehill County Service Updates:
Restrictions on Mass Gatherings Continue
On April 23, 2020, clarification was given from the Alberta Government’s Chief Medical Officer in regards to public gathering restrictions due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Under these mandates, all events and gatherings with more than 15 people over the summer months of 2020 are prohibited.
In light of these announcements, Kneehill County has canceled or postponed the following events:
- The Growing Kneehill Country Market & Long Table Dinner, scheduled for August 14 and 15, has been cancelled for 2020. This incredible event will return in 2021, thank you to our amazing local producers and talented vendors for your continued support.
- The Household Hazardous Waste Round-Up, hosted in partnership with the Town of Three Hills each May, is postponed until further notice. Please visit our website for more recycling options and tips for storing your hazardous waste until the round-up can be rescheduled.
Previous Kneehill County Actions:
- Residents can defer utility payments until June 30, 2020. No penalties or disconnections will take place during this time period. Penalties will be applied on unpaid utility balances on July 1, 2020.
- Kneehill County Parks and Campgrounds remain closed to the public until further notice. This includes Braconnier Dam Campground, Keiver’s Lake Campground, Swalwell Dam Campground, Torrington Campground, Horseshoe Canyon and Orkney Viewpoint.
- Kneehill County facilities, including the Administration Office and all Public Works locations, are closed to the public until further notice.
- All Kneehill County playgrounds--Torrington, Wimborne, Huxley, Swalwell and Keiver’s Lake playgrounds—are closed.
- All upcoming public events, workshops and activities scheduled prior to May 1, 2020, have been cancelled or postponed.
- Kneehill County staff remain available to the public via telephone and email during regular business hours, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Please call 403-443-5541 or email email@example.com for assistance.
Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit our website, www.kneehillcounty.com, for the most updated information for Kneehill County residents, including a summary of current Kneehill County service and process changes, frequently asked questions and links to information from the Province and Alberta Health Services.
Rest assured, we at Kneehill County are still hard at work, and we’re working for you."
Reeve’s Video Message #1
April 14, 2020
Good afternoon. My name is Jerry Wittstock, Reeve of Kneehill County. Today I would like to talk to you about COVID-19, and what the County is doing to maintain services during this pandemic. It has certainly changed the way the world is working.
At today’s [April 14, 2020] meeting, Council voted to allow deferment of utility bill payments until June of 2020, to offer some relief during the COVID-19 response. Residents and businesses won’t be disconnected for unpaid garbage, water or sewer bills during this period, and can choose to pay their bills at a later time without being charged interest, or otherwise penalized until July 1, 2020.
Staff and administration continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation daily and continue to take every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our staff and residents. While we’re working to maintain most County services, residents may experience disruptions to certain services, or a change in the delivery of some services, which can’t be helped.
Most of our office staff are working remotely, and with the office closed to the public, a good portion of our services have moved online. If you need assistance with anything, call the office at 403-443-5541. Staff are here answering phones and are available to assist or direct you however you need.
No matter what happens, Kneehill County has Business Continuity processes and protocols in place to ensure that essential services will take priority. Road, fire and fire services and water will not be disrupted. And we still intend to safely undertake capital projects in an effort to maintain our infrastructure and foster economic activity in our area.
Rest assured, we at Kneehill County are still hard at work, and we are working for you.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are on the rise throughout the Province. Let these numbers be a sober reminder of the actions we must all continue to take to help flatten the curve and limit the spread of the virus in our communities.
I’d like to thank everyone for continuing to doing their part. For self-isolating when you’re sick, for working remotely, for staying at home as much as possible, for practicing physical distancing and minimizing trips out of the house.This is the best way to keep you, your family, your neighbours, and our community safe.
Thank you to the emergency services and healthcare workers for their hours of dedication, our frontline and municipal workers, truck drivers, all of our essential businesses and their employees who put themselves at risk every day to make sure we are all taken care of and have access to the things we need, like healthcare, groceries, mail, and other essentials.
Let’s follow and lead by their example, and continue to show compassion and care for each other during these extraordinary circumstances.
We know this is a stressful and difficult time for everyone, and we will get through this, together. But maybe just a little further apart.
Stay safe everyone.