NR - Lacombe County Council Adopts 2009 Budget

December 17, 2008

Lacombe County Council Adopts 2009 Budget

(Lacombe, Alberta) – Council approved Lacombe County’s 2009 Operating and Capital budgets on Wednesday, December 17. The Operating budget, which provides for revenues and expenditures of $42,636,613, is $174,058 less than the 2008 budget, not including the requisition from the Lacombe Foundation for $280,900.

The Capital budget of $5,162,708 is approximately 42% less than the 2008 Capital budget.

In spite of cost increases in a number of areas of the County’s operations, Council and Administration were able to develop a budget which addresses future needs without having to increase the municipal tax rate. Residential tax rates remain at 2.12, while Farmland and Non-Residential rates are unchanged at 4.20. The requisition from the Lacombe Foundation represents the addition of .0454 of a mill to the overall tax rate.

“Council has responded to increasing development pressures through an ongoing process of strategic planning and sound fiscal management,” said Lacombe County Reeve Terry Engen. “By continuing to plan for future needs we’re able to maintain service delivery standards for our ratepayers, even in these uncertain economic times.”

Lacombe County tax rates are well below average compared to most other municipalities. Municipal tax revenue accounts for slightly more than half of the County’s operating funds, with provincial and federal grants, user fees and other revenue sources making up the balance.

For the 2009 Capital budget, the largest share of expenditures is dedicated to Administration and Public Works, with Fire Protection, Agriculture, and Sewer costs accounting for most of the balance. Over 65% of the Operating budget is allocated to Public Works, which actually reduced its budget slightly from 2008.

Major projects for 2009 include paving of the Alix North Road and the Spruceville Road extension at a combined cost of approximately $9.32 million.

The County’s overall 2009 tax rate will be established in April 2009, once the County receives the Alberta School Foundation Fund requisition from the provincial government.

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For more information contact:

Terry Hager                                                       Terry Engen
County Commissioner                                     Reeve
Lacombe County                                              Lacombe County
(403) 782-6601                                                (403) 782-6601

NR - Lacombe County Completes Municipal Census

September 2, 2008

Lacombe County Completes Municipal Census

(Lacombe, Alberta) – Lacombe County census enumerators have completed the tally of Lacombe County residents which has been underway since April 9.

Council voted in favor of conducting its own census when results from the 2006 Federal census indicated only 10,451 total County residents, a decrease of 200 people from the 2001 count.

“While a decrease of 200 residents may not seem noteworthy, it has a significant impact on the County,” explains Tim Timmons, Manager of Corporate Services. “Our official population count affects the level of Federal and Provincial funding the County receives, as many of these grants are calculated on a per-capita basis. Therefore, every additional resident represents an increase in the grant funding for Lacombe County and ensures we receive our fair share. By conducting our own official door-to-door count of the number of people living in Lacombe County, we were able to update and verify the Federal census results.”

 \The census information serves as a foundation for planning and implementing County services and programs. An accurate count of residents and the number in each age group is essential for Lacombe County as it implements its strategic plan for the municipal services and programs that residents require.

Municipal census enumerators traveled door-to-door to visit every household in Lacombe County, collecting information on the number of people living in a household, as well as each individual’s gender and age.

County census enumerators identified 10,507 County residents; details of the tally are still being compiled by County staff and will be announced as soon as they are available.

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For more information, contact:

Tim Timmons                                                   
Manager of Corporate Services                         
Lacombe County                                              
(403) 782-6601                                                  

NR - Boil Water Order Rescinded

September 2, 2008

Boil Water Order Rescinded

(Lacombe, Alberta) – Effective immediately, the Boil Water Advisory issued on Friday, August 15, 2008 for the Hamlet of Mirror is rescinded.

Over the last four days staff from Lacombe County, Alberta Environment and the David Thompson Health Region have completed a thorough cleaning of the entire water treatment system in Mirror. Water sampling has been completed and tests show that water leaving the plant is now meeting required health standards.

The procedure included the purging and cleaning of all components within the system, as well as a review of operating procedures to ensure a reliable and safe drinking water supply for the Hamlet of Mirror.

Before consuming any water, please do the following:

  • Drain hot water heaters.
  • Run taps for 5 minutes to flush out water.

You should also:

  • Remove screens/aerators from taps and clean them.
  • Change carbon filters on your taps.
  • Flush automatic icemakers – make 3 batches of ice cubes and discard all 3 batches.
  • Contact your service representative regarding the cleaning of fountain drink/pop machine lines.
  • Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
  • If you have a treatment device on your home water system, call your supplier to ask about cleaning or servicing.

Lacombe County thanks you for your cooperation during this operation. For more information contact a Public Health Inspector or the Community Health Office in your area.

David Thompson Health Region Toll-Free Information Line: 1-800-752-8957
Alberta Environment Central Region Office: (403) 340-7052
Red Deer Johnstone Crossing Community Health Centre: (403) 356-6377

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For further information, please contact:

Keith Boras
Manager of Environmental & Protective Services
Lacombe County
(403) 782-6601

NR - Hamlet of Mirror Boil Water Advisory

August 15, 2008

Hamlet of Mirror Boil Water Advisory

(Lacombe, Alberta) – Due to current conditions in the raw water supply, the water treatment process for the Hamlet of Mirror is unable to meet Regional Health guidelines.

The David Thompson Health Region has ordered Lacombe County to inform all residents, food establishments, institutions, schools, senior citizens facilities and businesses within the Hamlet of Mirror who are serviced by the water supply by way of personal contact to boil water for at least one minute before consumption or service to customers.

The boil water advisory is effective immediately and will continue to be in effect until further notice.

Officials from Lacombe County have consulted with representatives from the David Thompson Health Region and Alberta Environment to assess the situation and determine an appropriate course of action. The reason for the water supply exceeding the safe value required by government agencies is thought to be the result of above normal water temperatures in the raw water reservoir. Lacombe County staff will continue to work on the water supply and treatment systems until all of the problems are rectified.

Residents are instructed to boil the water rigorously for at least one minute before consuming it. Safe alternatives to boiling water include distillation through a steam condensing unit, or purchasing commercially bottled water.

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For further information contact:

Keith Boras
Manager of Environmental & Protective Services                                               
Lacombe County                                  
(403) 782-6601

NR - Outdoor Watering Ban in Hamlet of Mirror

July 29, 2008

Outdoor Watering Ban in Hamlet of Mirror

(Lacombe, Alberta) - Effective immediately Lacombe County is placing a ban on outdoor watering in the Hamlet of Mirror until further notice. 

Conditions in the water treatment plant are restricting the ability of the plant to produce water at full capacity making this ban necessary. Residents are asked to refrain from watering lawns, gardens, or washing cars until further notice. We ask that residents also make efforts to conserve and reduce all water consumption for the short term.

We thank you for your cooperation in this effort.

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For more information, contact:

Keith Boras
Manager of Environmental & Protective Services
Lacombe County
(403) 782-6601

NR - County Council Approves 2008 Budget and Tax Rates

May 1, 2008

County Council Approves 2008 Budget and Tax Rates

(Lacombe, Alberta) – Continued demand for high-quality local service delivery presented significant challenges to Lacombe County Councillors at their April 24th meeting as they labored to produce a fiscally responsible budget for 2008. However, additional tax revenue generated through new residential and commercial/industrial developments throughout the County, combined with additional grant funding from the provincial government, aided Council in approving a budget which meets current needs but still allows for the reduction of 2008 property tax rates.

While Council approves the interim operating and capital budgets in December, the final budgets and tax rates are not set until April of the following year, once the County has received the education requisition from the Province. Municipal tax rates are determined by aligning the total budget requirements for the coming year with the total assessed value of all properties in the County. The amount of property taxes levied for education purposes is determined by the Province. Separate tax rates are established for residential, farmland, and non-residential properties, as well as for machinery and equipment (See the Backgrounder on the next page for 2008 property tax rates).

Total residential property assessments for 2008 increased by a total of just over 54%, of which approximately 6% was a result of new developments, with the balance due to market value increases. Despite a decrease in tax rates for all property classes, individual property owners may experience an increase in taxes due to changes in their assessed property values. Because residential property values are related to market demand, assessments can vary significantly from property to property across the County. According to Tim Timmons, Manager of Corporate Services, residential property owners should not see an increase on their tax bill unless the assessed value of their property has increased by more than 44.45% over last year.

Of the County’s total $52.2 million operating budget, $32.2 million is funded through property taxation, with $9.6 million of this being forwarded to the provincial government for education purposes. The County’s portion of the property taxes collected is used to fund the cost of services and programs provided to local residents and businesses. The County proposes to undertake five major pavement rehabilitation projects in 2008 at an estimated cost of $9.93 million. Major components of the 2008 capital budget of $8.95 million include vehicle and equipment replacement for the County’s Fire, Public Works, Agriculture and Protective Services departments, the expansion of the County’s office and shop facilities, as well as various community projects like upgrading of the Alix fire hall and the purchase of recreation equipment for the new outdoor recreation complex in Mirror, which opens on May 6.

Every year Council re-dedicates itself to the difficult task of managing resources to meet the growing needs of its residents and businesses, while trying to maintain a balance between present needs and future growth. County Commissioner Terry Hager sums up the result this way: “The budget strikes a reasonable balance between addressing service costs and taxes that ratepayers will face in 2008. It addresses growth needs in terms of additional support staff for our Planning, Corporate Services and Public Works departments, and puts the County in a strong position to meet the growing service needs of our residents.”

Tax notices will be mailed out at the end of May, with taxes due by August 31, 2008. 

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For more information contact:

Tim Timmons
Manager of Corporate Services                                     
Lacombe County
(403) 782-6601

NR - Grand Opening for George Albers Recreational Facility in Mirror

May 1, 2008

Grand Opening for George Albers Recreational Facility in Mirror

(Lacombe, Alberta) – Lacombe County will officially open Mirror’s George Albers Outdoor Recreational Facility on Tuesday, May 6. The facility has been named in honor of long-term resident and volunteer Mr. George Albers.

George was a community-minded individual who served on council for the Village of Mirror, as well as on the Mirror Recreation Board.  George was also a member of the Lions Club in Mirror, and a long-time member and Past President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 189. 

George spent countless hours building, flooding, scraping ice, fundraising, and maintaining the old Mirror outdoor skating rink.  He was involved in constructing this new facility so that the youth of Mirror and area had a place to gather, get some exercise and have fun. The last time George flooded the ice on the new surface was December 28, 2007. George passed away on January 7, 2008, knowing that the new facility was in place and his vision was complete for the youth of Mirror.

Schedule:

12:00 - 1:00       Lunch to be served by the Mirror Skating Rink Committee

1:00 - 1:30       Opening Ceremonies Terry Engen, Reeve, Lacombe County

Project Contributors:

Lacombe County would like to thank the following for their contributions to this project:

  • Canada-Alberta Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (CAMRIF)
  • The Mirror Skating Rink Society
  • Maple Leaf Gold Incorporated
  • Brand X Ramps
  • Lacombe County Public Works Department
  • Cunningham Electric Ltd.
  • Security Watch of Canada

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For more information, contact:

Keith Boras
Manager of Environmental & Protective Services                                               
Lacombe County
(403) 782-6601

NR - Lacombe County prepares to conduct municipal census

April 3, 2008

Lacombe County prepares to conduct municipal census

(Lacombe, Alberta) – Lacombe County census enumerators will begin knocking on the doors of Lacombe County residents on April 9.

Council voted in favor of conducting the census when results from the 2006 federal census demonstrated a decrease of 200 residents from the 2001 federal census.

“While a decrease of 200 residents may not seem overly noteworthy, it actually has a fairly significant impact on the County,” explained Tim Timmons, Manager of Corporate Services for Lacombe County. “Our official population impacts the level of federal and provincial funding the County receives, as many of these grants are calculated on a per-capita basis. Therefore, every additional resident represents an increase in the grant funding for Lacombe County and ensures we receive our fair share. By conducting an official door-to-door count of the number of people living in Lacombe County, we will be able to determine if the federal census results accurately represent our population.”

The census information also serves as a foundation for planning and implementing County services and programs. An accurate count of residents and the number in each age group is essential for Lacombe County to plan ahead for the municipal services and programs that residents require.

Municipal census enumerators will go door-to-door to visit every household in Lacombe County. They will be collecting information on the number of people living in a household, as well as each individual’s gender and age. A call back card will be left at the residences where no one is home to ensure that all residents are counted.

Census enumerators are identifiable by their picture ID cards. Citizens with any questions about the identity of a census worker should contact Laura Graham, Census Coordinator, at (780) 372-3600 or the Lacombe County Administration office during regular business hours at (403) 782-6601 for verification.

When complete, the census results will be posted on the County’s website at www.lacombecounty.com, and highlighted in an upcoming edition of County News. 

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For more information, contact:

Tim Timmons                                                    Laura Graham
Manager of Corporate Services                    Census Coordinator
Lacombe County                                              (780) 372-3600
(403) 782-6601                                                  

NR - Lacombe County moves forward with facility expansion

March 31, 2008

Lacombe County moves forward with facility expansion

(Lacombe, Alberta) – Planning today for the needs of tomorrow, Council gave the green light to the proposed expansion of Lacombe County’s Administration and Public Works Shop facilities at the March 27, 2008 Council meeting.

The expansion will bring an additional 14,981 square feet of space to the Administration office, which will include 26 offices, two meeting rooms, as well as an expanded main entrance and Council Chambers. The additional 3,888 square feet of space at the Shop will house 10 new offices, a training room and an expanded parts area.

While the Administration office will nearly double in size when construction is complete, the expansion will ensure adequate space is available as the County continues respond to growth pressures and service delivery expectations.

“Preparing for the potential expansion to our current facilities, department heads were asked to look 10 years down the road and identify all of the additional staff that will be required,” explained Lacombe County Commissioner Terry Hager. “However, it’s always a bit of a guessing game. When we moved into this facility, we never expected to outgrow it so quickly. Looking back, we realize that we couldn’t plan for all of the unexpected issues, such as the dissolution of the Hamlet of Mirror, the rapid rate of development we’ve experienced in the past few years, or unforeseen projects, such as the Tangible Capital Asset. These unexpected items place a significant increase on staff workloads.”

The new site plan and building designs have been developed to accommodate immediate expansion for the next 10 years. However, the design also provides the onsite capacity for an additional 10 years of expansion should the need arise in the future.

Two firms submitted design built proposals for the project and Council accepted the proposal submitted by Scott Builders. The total project budget is $5,836,100, with $1,740,107 in funding coming from the Administration building reserve, $195,416 from the Public Works building reserve, $2,121,955 from Lacombe County’s 2007 surplus, and $1,778,662 from Lacombe County’s 2007 and 2008 Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding. 

“Significant projects require significant dollars,” said Lacombe County Reeve Terry Engen. “We are fortunate to have planned ahead and have the necessary funds to successfully complete the project without having to go into a deficit.” 

Construction on both facilities is expected to commence within the next few weeks. “We’ve been short of space to accommodate our current staffing levels for almost two years now,” added Hager. “Therefore, moving forward with the project in a timely fashion is crucial. We hope to be in a lock up position by next fall, with substantial completion by February of 2009.” 

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 For more information, contact:

Terry Hager                                                       George Siebel
Commissioner                                                   Project Coordinator
Lacombe County                                               Lacombe County
(403) 782-6601                                                 (403) 782-6601

NR - Lacombe County adopts Lacombe/Blackfalds Rural Fringe Area Structure Plan

February 15, 2008

Lacombe County adopts Lacombe/Blackfalds Rural Fringe Area Structure Plan

(Lacombe, Alberta) – Following a comprehensive public consultation process, Lacombe County Council gave second and third reading to a new Area Structure Plan on February 14 which looks to guide the future development of County lands to the south and east of Blackfalds.

While work on the Lacombe / Blackfalds Rural Fringe Area Structure Plan (ASP) was initially started in the fall of 2003, Lacombe County delayed the preparation of the ASP in 2004 to allow for completion of the Highway 2A Urban Corridor Area Structure Plan and the Highway 2A (Lacombe to Blackfalds) Functional Planning Study. As these two studies directly affect the Plan area, it was important that they be considered in the preparation of the ASP. The ASP was formally re-started in 2007 with a public open house, and with the plan area boundaries adjusted to exclude lands covered in the Highway 2A Urban Corridor Area Structure Plan.

“The purpose of the ASP is to outline the preferred land uses, general development standards, road access improvements and servicing requirements of the area,” explained Dale Freitag, Long Range Planner for Lacombe County. “This in turn helps to ensure orderly planning by assisting the Planning department in responding to future subdivision and development proposals.”

The draft future development concept map for the Lacombe / Blackfalds Rural Fringe ASP incorporates planning objectives that reflect values important to area residents, including the preservation of large areas of agricultural land and protecting the rural landscape and environmentally sensitive areas. To minimize potential land use conflicts, the ASP focuses on encouraging conservation minded housing alternatives in areas suited for residential development. The ASP also addresses residential and commercial opportunities, the future expansion needs of the Towns of Lacombe and Blackfalds, as well as the need to protect valuable sand and gravel resources in the area.

The Plan area is divided into six policy areas to ensure that polices address a variety of natural and man-made features unique to each area, including gravel resources, the Burbank Industrial Park, Blindman River, Blackfalds Lake and the CN rail line.

The Lacombe / Blackfalds Rural Fringe ASP is available at the County Office or online at www.lacombecounty.com.

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For more information contact:

Dale Freitag
Long Range Planner
Lacombe County
(403) 782-6601

NR - Public Hearing Scheduled for Lacombe / Blackfalds Rural Fringe Area Structure Plan

February 4, 2008

Public Hearing Scheduled for Lacombe / Blackfalds Rural Fringe Area Structure Plan

(Lacombe, Alberta) – Lacombe County residents will have a final opportunity to comment on a proposed Area Structure Plan (ASP) for the Lacombe / Blackfalds Rural Fringe Area at a public hearing scheduled for Thursday, February 14 at 9 a.m. in the Lacombe County Council Chambers.

The draft ASP, which was developed with input from property owners, the Towns of Lacombe and Blackfalds and other key stakeholders, received First Reading by Lacombe County Council on January 10, 2008. The public hearing provides all stakeholders with an opportunity to share their thoughts or concerns directly with Council.

“An area structure plan is intended to guide subdivision and development in a particular part of a municipality,” said Lacombe County Long-Range Planner Dale Freitag. “The Lacombe / Blackfalds Rural Fringe ASP describes how land to the south and east of the Town of Blackfalds might be developed in future years.”

The draft future development concept map for the Lacombe / Blackfalds Rural Fringe ASP incorporates planning objectives that reflect values important to area residents, including the preservation of large areas of agricultural land and protecting the rural landscape and environmentally sensitive areas. The Plan also addresses residential and commercial opportunities, the future expansion needs of the Towns of Lacombe and Blackfalds, as well as the need to protect valuable sand and gravel resources in the area.

The Plan area is divided into six policy areas to ensure that polices address a variety of natural and man-made features unique to each area, including gravel resources, the Burbank Industrial Park, Blindman River, Blackfalds Lake and the CN rail line.

The draft Lacombe / Blackfalds Rural Fringe ASP is available at the County Office or online at www.lacombecounty.com. 

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For more information, contact:

Dale Freitag                                                      Allan Williams
Long-Range Planner                                        Manager of Planning Services
Lacombe County                                              Lacombe County
(403) 782-6601                                                (403) 782-6601

NR - Lacombe County provides additional opportunity for public input into draft development plans for the Highway 2A urban corridor

January 28, 2008

Lacombe County provides additional opportunity for public input into draft development plans for the Highway 2A urban corridor

(Lacombe, Alberta) – To better respond to the unique and timely opportunities resulting from unprecedented growth in the Highway 2A corridor, Lacombe County and the Towns of Lacombe and Blackfalds have moved forward together to develop an Area Structure Plan (ASP) for the area between Lacombe and Blackfalds. This strategic inter-municipal partnership will advance the development of a common vision for the region that represents the joint interests of their municipalities while offering development opportunities for surrounding landowners.

Started in February of 2007, Stantec Consulting Ltd. has been working with all three municipalities, adjacent land owners and the general public. Public input has been received through a design Charette, several public Open Houses and general public correspondence. Based on comments from these meetings and through consultation with the Municipal partners, a draft document has been prepared and is nearing completion.

All parties have been working very hard to move forward and finalize the Area Structure Plan. Specifically, the Steering Committee has been incorporating public comment into the document and reviewing the approval process they will follow to approve this document. The original intent was to have a tri-municipal hearing, where all three Councils would approve this document. As the three municipalities have been working through the policy document process it has been determined that in moving this document forward Lacombe County will be adopting the Plan, with both the Town of Blackfalds and Town of Lacombe endorsing the ASP and agreeing to adopt this plan when lands are incorporated into their borders. Once the Plan has been adopted, work will begin on revising the existing Intermunicipal Development Plans between Lacombe County and each of the Towns to support the ASP.

The land use concept has also seen some revisions as the plan has went through the process. Once such change is to include more commercial and industrial lands on the southern border of the area.  Revisions to the concept and the change of the land uses were initiated by the Town of Blackfalds to better meet their growth objectives. Additionally, there have been changes made within the policy document to better protect the shorelines of Lacombe Lake.

The objectives and intent of the Plan are still intact and have been designed to provide direction to Developers, residents, Council, and County Administration related to the development of this area.  Although additional planning and developmental requirements may need to occur prior to developing land within this area, this is the first step to ensuring development of this area proceeds in a timely fashion, that development is sensitive to the environment and that the economy of the entire region profits.

The next step in this process will be to allow the public an opportunity to review the latest ASP concept plan and policy document and provide final comments. To facilitate this, an Open House has been scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on February 7, 2008 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre for a presentation of the Area Structure Plan. In addition to the Open House, the draft Highway 2A Urban Corridor Area Structure Plan is available on Lacombe County’s website at www.lacombecounty.com. Based on public comment, the Steering Committee will review the Area Structure Plan, make changes if necessary and set a time to go to Lacombe County Council for First Reading. 

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For more information, contact:

Allan Williams                                                    Chris Jennings
Manager of Planning Services                         Planning and Lanscape Architecture
Lacombe County                                               Stantec
(403) 782-6601                                                 (403) 341-3320

 

 

NR - Lacombe County launches new corporate identity

January 10, 2008

Lacombe County launches new corporate identity

(Lacombe, Alberta) – As Lacombe County continues to adapt and respond to expanding priorities, an evolving landscape and an increasingly diversified stakeholder group, a new corporate identity has been developed to more accurately represent Lacombe County.

“When we initially began exploring the development of a new corporate identity, Council was looking for a logo which reflected a commitment to our heritage and to the environment, yet still represented the progression and diversity of our municipality,” explained Lacombe County Reeve Terry Engen.

In the new logo, twin sweeps join together to form a horizon, the green and blue representative of the landscape and natural resources of Lacombe County. The curve itself further suggests a grand overarching canvas of Alberta sky. The horizon also contains a promise of what lies beyond: the Lacombe County logo’s typeface set in solid grey is symbolic of that future. Industry, activity and growth are built on and exist in harmony with the landscape of the Lacombe County horizon.

The development of this corporate identity follows closely upon Council’s recent adoption of a Strategic Plan and a new Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaw, documents which serve as Lacombe County’s blueprint for the future.

“Our previous logo had been in place for a number of years, dating back to when the School Board still operated under Lacombe County,” said Lacombe County Commissioner Terry Hager. “Since that time we’ve experienced significant changes to the area landscape, to our County operations and to our tax base. This new corporate identity allows Administration and Council to hold true to the commitments we’ve made in our Strategic Plan as we continue to build on our solid foundation while adopting a new corporate identity which assists in moving into the future.”

As many County highway signs are currently in need of replacement and new equipment and vehicles require decaling, the launch of this new corporate identity is particularly timely, as the new logo can be placed on these items without expending additional funds to change them. Other items that contain the previous logo, including stationary, forms and maps will be updated over the course of the year as existing supplies are depleted. 

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For more information contact:

Terry Hager
County Commissioner
Lacombe County
(403) 782-6601