Mayor returns to council

For the first time in 2015, the mayor’s chair at the council table was taken by Mayor Dick Richards.

For the first time in 2015, the mayor’s chair at the council table was taken by Mayor Dick Richards.

Richards, who has been sick since the start of the year, said he was glad to be back, and took the time to thank everyone on council for making sure his absence didn’t impact the work of the town.

“It was a long time to be away from the table,” he said. “Thank you all very much for the visits and the work.”

Though the mayor is now back at work, he explained he was still under doctor’s observations, meaning he’s still not quite recovered from the illness that had him hospitalized in the first place.

Though he declined to speak about the illness itself, he said he remained positive that he’d continue to recover.

Capital budget approved

Council voted unanimously to approve the town’s $5.5 million budget for 2015.

Some of the money making up the budget comes from reserves, though that’s a small percentage, CAO Greg Switenky said. The rest is made up of various town incomes like taxes and grants from the government.

“It’s a fairly modest budget, but it reflects the times,” Switenky said. “$5.5 million is not chump change,” he added, but said the town is trying to be frugal considering the downturn caused by low oil prices.

The Mayor noted that while the budget is “modest,” it still reflects the support council has given for community projects. Wherever there’s been trimming, it hasn’t greatly impacted community programs.

The budget wasn’t a surprise to anyone at the council table, since “it’s consistent with the temporary operating budget,” Switenky said. “There’s no unexpected surprises.”

Ag Centre changes

The Stettler and District Agricultural property will seem some physical transformations this year, according to councillor Darcy Bachman. The old ball diamonds, which haven’t been used since the construction of the new ones near Points West, will have their backstops removed, and the racetrack will also be demolished.

There was no discussion about what the reclaimed land would be used for during the meeting.