Botha’s future as a municipality under focus

The future of Botha as an independent municipal unit is being questioned.

The future of Botha as an independent municipal unit is being questioned and county is part of a process to assess the possibility of dissolving the village administration.

The importance of the Botha Viability Review had Stettler County council appointing the reeve, Wayne Nixon, to represent the county on the review team.

The decision was made at the county’s monthly meeting on Nov. 4.

Councillor Greggory Jackson, as the councillor representing the area, was appointed as the alternate member, and would attend meetings if the reeve is unavailable.

The request was made by the Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs, who recommended one member of county council and one administrative member from the county office be appointed to the team.

According to the Municipal Government Act, the Minister (of Municipal Affairs) may undertake a dissolution study in respect of a municipality if the minister believes that the dissolution will lead to more effective or efficient municipal operations.

Councillor Joe Gendre made the motion for the reeve, stating that, “I think this is important enough to send the reeve and deputy reeve as the alternate.”

A friendly amendment from Councillor James Nibourg had the alternate become the area’s councillor. Councillor Grover, who would have been said alternate as the deputy reeve, expressed no concerns about ceding his place on the team to the area’s councillor, but requested that whoever attended the meeting keep council well appraised.

The motion also accepted the staff recommendations regarding the administrative county member participating as part of the team.

Road Priority map approved with amendmentsCouncil next addressed the county’s road construction prioritization plan, which had been brought up in the past but never formally adopted by council. The plan lists 30 miles of roadwork that the county’s councillors and staff have examined and decided were the most important projects.

Rick Green, director of engineering, cautioned council, noting that while the prioritization list of roadwork shows certain roads to be addressed in certain years, that list could be shrunk — or expanded — depending on the cost of work and the access to materials.

With its amendments, council voted it the construction priorities into place, giving staff a place to start with their budget work for 2016.

New Deputy ReeveEarlier, as the first order of business at its monthly meeting on Nov. 4, County of Stettler council witnessed the swearing in of its new deputy reeve, Councillor Dave Grover.

Grover takes over from Councillor Greggory Jackson, who has held the post for the past eight months. Grover, likewise, will hold the position for the next eight months before the next deputy reeve is chosen.

The eight-month terms allows all of the county councillors to sit one term as deputy reeve, giving them a chance to experience the responsibilities of the reeve when they fill in for the reeve.

Road ClosureA request from property owners to close the “unnecessary” portions of Township Road 35-1 was approved unanimously by council.

The request was made by two property owners who wished to subdivide their property but were hindered by the road that ran through the properties. The affected roadway is a section of Township Road 35-1 west of regional Road 19-1.

The closed roadway would be ceded to the property owners in exchange for a similar amount of land, meaning no money would change hands, but the property size would remain essentially the same.

The section of road was deemed unnecessary because other roads in the area provide access around the property in question, and no property on the road would be made inaccessible through the closing of the road.

Trade Fair 2016 a goThe county’s booth will return to the Stettler Trade Show in 2016 after council voted unanimously to continue with the project.

“I think it’s one of the most popular things we do,” Councillor Les Stulberg said, noting he was willing to make a motion to continue the county’s attendance. However, Nibourg expressed some concerns.

“I think we should do it, but maybe not every year,” Nibourg temporized. “I have an issue with people having to pay to come see us.”

Councillor Jackson noted that the $5 admission charge was well worth it as most attendees “got their money’s worth” through the various booths.

The cost to rent space is around $700, with the booth and all its paraphernalia coming in at about $3,500, it was said.

“No other event gives us such a great cross-section of the community,” Jackson added.

In the end, Stulberg’s motion went to vote and was accepted unanimously.

Achievement program ‘a little bit of 4-H’ – NibourgCouncil also decided to support the eight Junior Achievement programs at schools in Erskine, Big Valley and Byemoor, to the tune of $4,000.

The programs were described as “a little bit of 4-H, a little bit of political science, a little bit of community involvement and a little bit of economics” by Nibourg, who was immediately in favour of putting county money behind the project.

The program works through the school and has kids out in the community, learning about economics and entrepreneurship, but not in a way that’s self-focused but rather on with focus on improving communities.

“We’ve seen what 4-H has done for our kids,” Cassidy said. “Not all kids are in 4-H.”

In the end, council voted to support the program.

Reserve land prices for tax saleCouncil voted to set the reserve public land sale prices for the upcoming tax sale. The lands in question were seized for non-payment of taxes after a long process in which the county tried to work with the property owners to resolve matters. The reserve prices on the properties are the assessment prices, Cassidy confirmed.

The next county meeting was set for Dec. 9, starting at 9 a.m. in the County of Stettler council chambers.

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