With budget season fast approaching for Town of Stettler administration, staff have begun reviewing and presenting the different license fees to council. First presented were the dog and cat license fees during the Nov. 15 meeting.
Staff reviewed the animal licensing fees in several communities similar in size to Stettler, finding the lowest set at $20 for an unaltered animal and the highest at $65.
“We’re right in the mix,” said Leann Graham, director of planning and development for the town.
Currently, Stettler charges $50 for an un-fixed animal, or $25 per animal for one that has been spayed or neutered.
According to the request for council decision (RCD), there were 999 animal licenses issued in Stettler in 2022 generating $26,550 in revenue.
Based on staff review of other municipalities, the recommendation was made to keep license fees at the same rate for 2023.
Council adopted the recommendation in a motion put forward by Coun. Scott Pfeiffer.
Administration also reviewed business license fees before bringing them to council.
As with the pet fees, administration surveyed a number of other similar sized municipalities to gauge where Stettler sat on the spectrum.
With fees ranging from $100 to $200 for resident business owners and $200 to over $400 for non-resident owners, Stettler came in a little higher than the average with its rate of $150 for resident and $350 for non-resident licenses.
The RCD in the agenda package notes that the last time business license fee was increased was 2013. With the rates sitting at the same level for nearly a decade, Coun. Gord Lawlor suggested, for sake of discussion, a nominal increase of $10 for the residential fee.
The majority of council felt now is not a time for even a “nominal” increase as businesses are still recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’d like to see it stay for one more year, because businesses are still trying (to recover),” said Coun. Cheryl Barros.
Chief administrative officer Greg Switenky did note that if council were to adjust the business license fees, they would also be required to adjust the business tax bylaw which works hand-in-hand with the fees for those professionals working in the community exempted from requiring a business license.
According to the RCD, 41 businesses operated in Stettler falling under the business tax requirements, with an estimated revenue of just over $6,000.
Ultimately, in a motion put forward by Lawlor, council opted to leave business licenses at the same rate as 2022.
In 2022, there were 553 registered businesses in Stettler,plus the businesses falling under the business tax roll, generating around $100,000 in revenue. Revenue generated through the business licenses and taxes goes to the Stettler Regional Board of Trade.
Stettler council has begun the process to begin rezoning and subdividing a piece of property on 47 Ave from industrial to public use.
The property, which is currently for sale, is being purchased and the prospective owner wants to split the property into two parcels, one just over five acres and one just under 11.
According to the RCD, the plan is for the western part of the property, the five-acre part of the land being subdivided, to be donated to the town as a a heritage park.
“The plan for developing it into a park would be left to the town, once we get title,” said Graham.
Coun. Kurt Baker made the motion allowing for the subdivision of the property to proceed and Lawlor put forward the motion for first reading of the bylaw to change the property from industrial to public use.
With the first reading done, the bylaw will go out for public consultation before progressing to second and third reading at a subsequent meeting.