By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Independent
After a vote during the organizational meeting, Larry Clarke has retained the mantle of reeve of Stettler County.
Stettler’s council met for the first time since the election on Oct. 25. Along with the returning councillors, they were joined by rookie council members Justin Stevens (Ward 6) and Paul McKay (Ward 7), who was acclaimed.
Under section 192 of the Municipal Government Act, municipalities are required to host an organizational meeting on an annual basis, “Not later than two weeks after the third Monday in October.”
The meeting is used for councils to elect reeves and mayors, set meeting dates, council renumeration, and set committee appointments for the upcoming year.
Two names were put forward for reeve in the upcoming term, Coun. Larry Clarke, and Coun. James Nibourg. Council was able to vote of their choice as reeve via secret ballot, with Clarke receiving the most votes.
On the matter of deputy reeve, all other council members will rotate through the position on an eight-month rotation in order of ward number, beginning with Coun. Les Stulberg in Ward 1.
After a small amount of discussion surrounding the topics that happen during their monthly meetings, in a motion put forward by Coun. Dave Grover council opted to keep council meetings during the day on the second Wednesday of the month.
One motion defeated during the organizational meeting was a motion put forward by Coun. Stevens. The motion would have seen council renumeration decreased by $25 for their per diem rates across the board. This would have dropped council pay to $250 for a full day, and $175 for half day when attending conventions or meetings away from the region. Additionally, the $25 drop would have also affected the monthly rates for the reeve, deputy reeve, and council members.
“I propose we pull back 10 per cent on all our per diems and rates as a symbol to the public,” said Stevens.
“It doesn’t make a huge impact on the budget, but I believe symbols are important.”
Due to some discussion around the calculation of the rollback, Stevens agreed to amend his motion to read $25 across the board instead of the 10 per cent. However, $25 or 10 per cent, the proposed cuts did not sit well with other council members.
“I’m not in favour of this, I think it should be left where it’s at,” said Coun. Dave Grover.
“We haven’t put it up in a while.”
McKay agreed with Grover, indicating that when costs are continuing to go up, it made no sense to drop the rates just to increase them again in another year or two.
The motion was narrowly defeated, in a four to three split. Reeve Clarke, Coun. Grover, Coun. McKay, and Coun. Ernie Gendre all voted against the motion, while Coun. Nibourg, Coun. Stulberg, and Coun. Stevens all voted for it.
With the defeat of the renumeration roll-back, Nibourg requested that a positive motion be made to reflect that the renumeration remain the same. In a four to three split vote, with the same members as the previous motion, the motion was carried.
The last piece of business of the organizational meeting was the committee assignments, which will be published to the County of Stettler website later.