Stettler County council received a member of the RCMP Traffic Unit as a delegation during its May 16 council meeting.
RCMP officer Cst. Bradley MacCallum has recently been assigned temporarily to lead the Stettler RCMP Traffic Unit, a position normally held by a corporal, and he stopped by Stettler County council to introduce himself and see if any problem areas that needed to be focused on.
The two biggest issues brought forward by council were traffic enforcement in the summer villages near the lake and right-hand passing on Highway 12 in Erskine.
“Clint (Sime) brought that to me last month,” said MacCallum, noting that Highway 12 would be a focus. Sime is the Stettler County director of protective services and a county peace officer.
Coun. Justin Stevens believes that enforcement is needed sooner, rather than later as the situation is about to be compounded by increased traffic with the onset of summer.
“(It’s) one of the main access areas to the lake,” said Stevens.
Coun. James Nibourg agreed with his colleague, noting that a lot of times drivers already have their minds on the lack instead of behind the wheel.
However, due to the wildfires ravaging parts of Alberta, RCMP resources are spread thin.
“Much of our resources are there,” said MacCullam.
“We need to get back on our feet again. When things normalize, we’ll get back to work with Clint and his team.”
As for problems MacCallum has found himself since arriving in Stettler, he said the first day he was here he found a suspended driver with no insurance. On his way home, the same day, he found another. And he has found more since.
“There are a lot of suspended drivers who are choosing to drive regardless,” said MacCallum.
Due to Municipal Sustainability Initiative funds coming in lower than anticipated for 2023, the County of Stettler has had to revise the budget.
The 2023 final budget will see revenues of $19.1 million for the county, against expenditures of around $14.6 million for general operations and $4.3 million transferred to Capital purchases.
Seeing the overall largest increase in the tax rate will be a five per cent increase to farm land, followed by a three per cent increase to non-residential and machine and equipment. Residential properties within the county will see a one per cent increase.
The budget presented to council during the meeting is the final one for the 2023 year; moving forward the County of Stettler will begin preparations for the 2024 budget.
The County of Stettler council has approved an updated Doctor Retention and Recruitment policy.
Stettler County has worked on physician recruitment for over two decades, providing financial incentives to physicians looking at making Stettler home.
To date, over $200,000 has been paid out to physicians coming to the community.
“It follows what our policy has been in the past,” said Andrew Brysiuk, director of municipal services.
The financial incentive offered by the county through the policy is not a guaranteed thing; physicians coming to the area must apply to the municipality for it and, should it be granted, enter into a five-year agreement to remain in the community.
If the physician were to leave within the first two-years of the agreement, the entire amount would need to be paid back. After two-years, the amount to be paid back would be pro-rated.
The typical amount that the County of Stettler has paid as a physician incentive in the past is $20,000, although the new policy does give council freedom to offer more or less at their discretion and depending on the situation.
“I think this is money well spent,” said Coun. Les Stulberg.