By Landin Chambers The Stettler Independent
Stettler Town Council dealt with budgets, the local MLA and much more at their regular meeting Dec. 19.
Interim budget for 2018 passes: Stettler Town Council passed their 2018 interim operating budget during their final meeting before the Christmas holidays. This allows the town to continue spending beyond January 1st, until their spring operating budget is passed. Town revenues at this time total $18,345,659 minus $17,318,754 in expenses. This leaves the Town of Stettler with $1,026,905 in available capital. Council passing the 2018 interim operating budget also gives the town the ability to set the 2018 utility rates which were passed later in the meeting.
Utility rates: First, second and third readings passed on the 2018 Town of Stettler utility rates during the December 19th meeting. The in-town water rate is increasing by a cent per cubic metre in 2018, or from $2.78 to $2.79. The flat water fee remains at $10 a month, while the flat sewer fee will increase to $22.25 from $22.00. Residential garbage pick-up will also increase by $0.25 to $23.25 from $23.00. Finally, recycling rates will remain at $6.25 as of January 1st, 2018.
Stettler mayor Sean Nolls noted in council that, “Stettler finds itself among the middle of the pack when it comes to utility rate increases around the region, and are in a better state than some communities by owning their water utility.”
Invitation from Clearview: An invitation was given to council from the school division for one of their representatives to join the board at the Alberta Rural Education Symposium happening March 4th to the 6th at the Fantasyland Hotel in Edmonton. At this time, council received it for information.
Strankman visits town council: Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman made his first visit to town council since becoming a member of the UCP. One issue brought forward by council was the matter of equitable police funding. As this is the town’s responsibility, there have been calls to cost-share RCMP funding with the county as they cover both jurisdictions. In the past few weeks, Strankman has met with Battle River-Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson to speak with him about the increase in rural crime since the recession. He also stated he would like to see tighter timelines and judicial speed in sentencing on rural crimes, and does not want to see the situation unravel further.
Discussions also centered around how our provincial representative can be made aware of grants that municipalities in his area are applying for. Currently, the provincial ministries do not notify a local MLA when grants are filed.
Finally, Strankman also spoke of the advocacy and case work that his office undertakes using their annual $160,000 MSA budget. An example he used was a case of a local constituent who has been trying to receive a specialized medication they would normally receive in the city centres, but have been unable to acquire in rural Alberta.