Budget process continues at town

It was another busy day in council chambers in Stettler on Tuesday, Jan. 19, as the town continues to work on completing its 2016 budget.

It was another busy day in council chambers in Stettler on Tuesday, Jan. 19, as the town continues to work on completing its 2016 budget.

Judy McKnight from the Stettler Handibus Society and Winnie Bissett from the Heartland Youth Centre attended the meeting representing their respective organizations and submitting their budgets to council for funding approval. While both organizations are completely independent of the town, both town and county support the organizations, which provide services to members of the community.

The Heartland Youth Centre requested that the town support the organization with a $40,000 injection, while the Handibus Society asked for $20,000.

Council unanimously supported both budgets, but directed the Handibus Society, who had hoped to secure additional funding beyond that of its normal budget to help cover some capital costs, to come back to council with a request for funding, as the request was outside of the normal budget process.

Zoning bylaw passes first readingA request to rezone a building on 51 Street from commercial to residential-commercial passed first reading. According to councillor Will Brown, the stretch of the street between 49 and 50 avenues is primarily commercial, and the town would like to see the area remain commercial.

However, the town also doesn’t want to see buildings sit empty, and given the number of business vacancies available and the lack of residential rentals, agreed that it would be permissible to rezone the building as requested. If a business can’t be found to take residence of the building, the owner would be able to rent it as a residential apartment, should the bylaw pass the second and third reading.

The bylaw now goes to public consultation and, following that, to second and third reading.

Partnership with county for grant application approvedCouncil approved working with the County of Stettler to apply for an Alberta Community Partnership Intermunicipal Component Grant.

The grant money, if secured, would be used to complete a the pre-engineering report, design and public consultation on phase two of the Stettler Recreation Centre project as well as purchase a fire engine to replace an aging one in Big Valley.

According to staff, the objective of the grant is to provide sustainability and support for regional collaboration.

“We’ve had great success with these in the past,” Brown said, noting that council voted unanimously to proceed.