Assistant CAO Yvette Cassidy asked council to approve the 2014 budget be used as an interim 2015 budget until the budget is passed in January.
She explained that unless there is an operating budget in place for Jan. 1, 2015, the county will be unable to pay for goods, services or payroll.
Council voted unanimously to use the 2014 budget as interim until the actual budget is passed in January.
The draft budget should be available early in the New Year for council to look over, make suggestions, and eventually approve, at which point it will go to public consultation before being passed at the end of the month.
More special projects applied to the committee for the budgeted money than there were places, so this year the county had to wiggle a bit to ensure everyone received something.
Only one project was outright denied, that being the Scenic Sands burn restoration project.
Projects at the Big Valley School and Agricultural Society only received partial funding, while the other applicants received the full amount requested.
The recommendations were explained to council, who again voted unanimously to approve the committee’s recommendations.
Accounts Receivable write-off
For the past three years, the county has been trying to collect monies owed by several people or estates for services, the largest being the emergency response bill to a plane crash between Stettler and Bashaw.
Cassidy explained that all reasonable attempts had been made to acquire the money from the different sources, including insurance and estate.
She also noted that writing off the expenses does not mean the county couldn’t collect on them in the future, should it suddenly become a viable option.
“We have exhausted all roads,” Cassidy noted. The amount of money owed in the plane crash situation is roughly $14,000.
In the end, though, councillors decided to vote to write-off the money owed, with a note that should the money ever be there to collect, the county would exercise all attempts to do so.
County celebrating 60 years
2015 will be the 60th anniversary of the founding of the County of Stettler, and Les Stulberg mentioned that money should be set aside in the coming budget to ensure the county celebrates the milestone with a bang.
He noted that no decision on what the celebration should be had to be made immediately, but he also wanted to put it to his fellow councillors and the county’s employees to think of birthday celebrations for later this coming summer.
Truck Route woes
The recent changing of the truck route in the Town of Stettler has caused some consternation for the county, which now has difficulty accessing its seed-cleaning plant.
While one of the ways into the plant is still accessible as a truck route, another is not, meaning that farmers coming in from one part of the county have to go around the town to come in from the other side.
County CAO Tim Fox said the matter was most likely an oversight and noted the county would be working with the town to rectify the difficulty.
The town had delegations from the community library, the Donalda Museum, and the Canadian Badlands Association.
The library delegation spoke about its programs offered, and took a moment to invite the council to the coming Christmas Around the World potluck night.
The Canadian Badlands Association came to speak about the benefits of membership, as the county is currently not one of the association’s communities.
Ken Favrholdt, the manager of the Donalda Museum, came to ask council to help the museum with a financial contribution of $5,700.
The money would be used to cover the cost of building bases with heavy-duty casters to make the cabinets at the museum easily movable, so the museum could rearrange its exhibits with ease, and further open up the space for better community use.
The council noted the information, but advised Favrholdt that a previous request by another community museum for a similar amount and similar project was turned down as it didn’t fit the criteria of “recreation.” However, no decision was made at the meeting.