Stettler considers higher level enforcement of municipal bylaws with increased presence

Bylaws in the Town of Stettler will be enforced more strongly next year with increased patrols and proactive presence.

Currently 80 hours a month, town council wants to increase enforcement presence to about 120 hours a month when the town renews its contract with Alberta Animal and Municipal Enforcement Services for another five years.

“Council wants to see proactive enforcement,” Mayor Dick Richards said as council discussed the proposed agreement with bylaw officer Don Elliott during council’s regular meeting Dec. 21.

Administration was directed by council to negotiate a contract and present a recommendation to council early in 2011.

Several council members suggested that the contract be restructured to focus on major issues and deal with minor issues in a different way.

At a current annual cost of $81,600, Alberta Municipal Enforcement Services has proposed a contract for 120 hours a month at $108,000 and another proposal of 160 hours a month for $124,800.

The contractor is open to customize the contract with the town for about 120 hours a month.

“This allows us more time to focus on the proactive enforcement program and allow us to take on some of the noxious-weed enforcement,” said Elliott.

“Costs would be reduced per hour on both regular and special patrols for the town.”

However, Elliot said this will not allow a full program so he would provide a more-reactive enforcement program.

“By adding in 40 hours extra per month, we would have more time but it would be used up by the noxious weeds program which we have received over 140 complaints,” said Elliott.

“Noxious weeds require a lot of time and this may take away from the other enforcement programs especially in summer when cars are at the highest.”

Increasing the contract to 160 hours a month for a cost of $124,800. Elliott said the service would provide higher visibility in the community and proactive enforcement would help to reduce the number of bylaw complaints.

In comparison to the 120-hour program, this is an increase of only $16,800 per year for a full-time officer.

“Alberta Animal Services has been involved with the Town of Stettler for over four years and we have built many positive relationships with the town and residents during this time,” said Elliott.

“Our licensing programs for dogs and cats have shown an increase in licensed animals by over 110 per cent in both programs.

“We have managed to reduce the number of unlicensed businesses each year through our business licence reminders and we have dealt with several problem properties in town and had them successfully cleaned up and maintained.”

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