Boundaries of the Town of Stettler have expanded by almost 900 acres as the town’s application to annex six quarter sections from the County of Stettler was approved last week by the provincial government.
Both the town and county have embraced a long-term vision for the region and this annexation will allow both municipalities to move forward with economic development and growth in an orderly and efficient manner.
Because the annexation becomes effective as of Jan. 1, 2010, residents in the annexed area will be eligible to vote in the Town of Stettler municipal elections Oct. 18.
“Annexation of 899 acres into the town allows us to continue to plan for future economic development in a structured manner,” said Mayor Dick Richards.
“The table has been set for both the town and the county to prosper.”
“We look forward to providing our services to the newest residents of our community and plan the transition to be seamless.”
“I truly believe the whole annexation process served as a catalyst that really brought both the town and the county together,” Richards added.
“We can now move forward together and work as a cohesive unit.”
To meet the growth needs in the next 40 years, the town has now acquired:
• Four quarter sections to the west of the town along Highway 12, being Section 1-39-20-W4M.
• One quarter section west of Tower Road, being the SE 7-39-19-W4M around the Emerson subdivision.
• One quarter section to the south of the town along and to the east of Highway 56, being the SW 31-38-19- W4M.
The annexation is based on the memorandum of understanding agreed by both municipal councils on March 18, 2009.
“We have no intention to stop the town from growing, “ said Reeve Earl Marshall.
“We spent years in negotiations with the town and it was a unanimous decision by county council that it was the best deal we could get for both communities.”
Both the town and county agree that the town is to make a one-time payment of $287,990 to the county to compensate for infrastructure that the county provided at its cost within the town’s proposed immediate growth area.
This includes work to upgrade 70 Street and construct the service road by UFA and CH4.
As well, the county will annually pay the town $128,000 for recreation cost-sharing for the first 10 years following annexation.
Impact on taxation for new property owners will be minimized as both the town and county agreed to protect landowners from ever-changing tax rates.
To protect landowners from fluctuating municipal tax rates, the town will tax annexed properties at the lower rate of the two municipalities for 10 years.
Once subdivided, developed or redeveloped for new use of property, lands will be taxed at the town’s tax rate.
Farming operations are protected through the town’s land-use bylaw which considers farms a permitted use within the urban reserve district.
The county will record an assessment loss of 1.2 per cent while the town will experience a gain of three per cent.