Council dips into reserves to replace equipment

Town of Stettler council agreed at its meeting on Nov. 17 to dip into its general reserves to replace a piece of broken equipment.

Town of Stettler council agreed at its meeting on Nov. 17 to dip into its general reserves to replace a piece of broken equipment, rather than wait until 2016.

At the council’s Nov. 3 meeting, a delegation appeared to discuss concerns regarding traffic in their residential area. One of the ways of measuring the traffic in the area, the traffic counter, was broken, Melissa Robbins, the town’s director of operations, revealed.

She said that she would put the street on the list to be studied once she had a new traffic counter, though, to confirm traffic patterns and average speeds.

Later in the same meeting, council discussed whether or not a counter could be rented, or if money was available to purchase it now — taking it out of Robbins’ 2016 budget allocation or finding the money in this year’s budget, rather than waiting until later. The issue was directed to the committee of the whole, which sent a recommendation to the Nov. 17 meeting.

That recommendation was to purchase the counter now, using money from reserves, which was approved by council at a cost of $7,500.

Animal, business licences maintain status quo

Town council voted to keep licences for dogs and cats at the same rate as this year in the next year’s budget, meaning it will cost $50 for an unaltered dog or cat, and $25 for an altered (neutered/spayed) dog or cat. People who purchase their licences between Jan. 1-31 will receive a $10 discount per licence.

Business licences also remained the same as 2015, with residents of the town paying $150 a year, and non-residents paying $350 a year. This was last changed in 2013.

Council debates bonuses

Council sparred over Christmas bonuses for its employees, with Councillor Al Campbell taking on the role of Scrooge.

Campbell said that he is proud of the town’s staff and the wonderful reputation they have, as well as the hard work they put in for the community, but he was unsure if it was fair to give bonuses for simply doing their jobs.

The bonus recommended by staff was $325 in local Heart of Alberta dollars, the same amount given last year and the year prior. The bonus, on average, goes up $25-$50 every other year, except in the 2008 recession, where it went down $50.

The other councillors, when given a chance to speak, played the roles of Christmas eve ghosts to Campbell’s Scrooge, going over in detail the many times town staff had gone above and beyond the call of their responsibilities — donating personal time and labour, putting in extra hours, and compensating for unexpected work like the extra work caused by the Telus network upgrade.

When it came time to vote on the bonus, Campbell voted in favour, swayed by his colleagues.

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