Petition calling for bylaw plebiscite delivered to county office

A petition calling for a plebiscite on a controversial County of Stettler borrowing bylaw was hand-delivered to the county office.

A petition calling for a plebiscite on a controversial County of Stettler borrowing bylaw was hand-delivered to the county office on Monday, March 7.

Around 3 p.m., Brad Mappin and Lyle Smith, two county residents, brought the petition to the county office. The petition has more than 1,100 signatures, Mappin told the Independent.

Before bringing the petition in to the office, Mappin and Smith scoured the petition to find any clearly disqualified signatories, not including those numbers in the total.

The petition was available at several businesses in Stettler and the county itself, and a group of volunteers went door-to-door, Mappin said.

“Thanks to everyone who volunteered to help out,” he said. “Several hands make light work.”

Mappin said he’d never really involved himself in municipal politics before, but felt he had to stand up and say no to the bylaw as he believes it is the wrong time for the county to be borrowing such a significant amount of money.

He also said that the group of individuals working to get the petition out in the community was not behind exaggerated tales of tax increases. The rumours of massive tax increases prompted the county to issue documentation explaining the process and the costs.

“Most people couldn’t wait to get that pen in their hand,” Mappin said about the response to getting people to sign the petition. “A few people wouldn’t, for different reasons, and I respect that.”

The county now has to verify each signature on the petition to ensure that the signatory is a county resident and has provided a legal land address, and that the signature has been witnessed. Once the verification process is complete, if the petition meets the 10 per cent requirement set out by the Municipal Government Act, the county will have to either kill the bylaw, or go ahead with the bylaw by calling a plebiscite on the matter. Ten per cent is 511 signatures, county assistant CAO Yvette Cassidy said in an earlier interview.