Winnie Bisset of Heartland Youth Centre presents a trophy to the members of council who were on a non-business fundraising team which raised around $1,000 for the Bowl for Kids fundraiser in March. Left-Right: Sean Nolls, Gord Lawlor, Winnie Bisset, Cerly Barros, Wayne Smith. (Photo submitted)

Winnie Bisset of Heartland Youth Centre presents a trophy to the members of council who were on a non-business fundraising team which raised around $1,000 for the Bowl for Kids fundraiser in March. Left-Right: Sean Nolls, Gord Lawlor, Winnie Bisset, Cerly Barros, Wayne Smith. (Photo submitted)

Stettler’s town council approves slight increase to STARS, other Committee of the Whole recommendation

Stettler’s town council held their regularly scheduled meeting on April 19.

A relatively light agenda, the meeting lasted around an hour with little of note.

Two items before council were a pair of items recommended by the April 12 Committee of the Whole meeting.

First, council has agreed to host a “meet and greet” night for the cross Canada car tour when they arrive in Stettler later in the year.

The motion allows for the potential use of the Stettler Community Hall and up to $3,000 of funds to come out of the town’s Community Development account in the 2022 operating budget.

A second recommendation coming out of the Committee of the Whole meeting was to continue supporting STARS air ambulance, but move away from the per capita funding model to stabilize funding for the organization.

Council has been supporting STARS through a budget line item at $2 per capita since the election of the previous council, according to chief administrative officer (CAO) Greg Switenky.

At the per capita rate, the line item for STARS came out to around $11,900. With the motion made by council April 19, that funding will increase to an even $12,000 moving forward.

According to Switenky, the change was done as a motion so that when the auditor reviews the town finances for 2022, the motion will match the change of funding to STARS.

Lead pipe replacement

Council has approved the awarding of a contract to replace lead waterlines on a section of 53 Street between 48 and 51 Avenues.

Tenders for the project, budgeted at $950,000 in the 2022 Capital Budget, were published on the municpal website Alberta Purchasing Connection.

“There was a lot of interest in (the project),” said Switenky.

Ten separate companies submitted bids to do the work, ranging in price from just under $650,000 to just under $1.5 million, not including contingency funding.

“We were happy that a local company got the job,” said Switenky.

Council awarded the contract to Wally’s Backhoe Service of Stettler, who submitted a bid of just under $648,000.

Typically, administration will budget 10 per cent of the total project cost for contingency on large projects, however due to anticipated complications of pipes being under large elm trees, in this case administration is requesting a 15 per cent contingency.

Switenky noted that it is not the town’s intention to have to remove any trees from the affected blocks, and if removals can be avoided they will be.

The total expenditure for the project, including contingency and engineering, will be just under $826,000.

Money remaining from the authorized $950,000 will be forwarded to the 2023 budget to go towards paving the trenches where the pipe is replaced once the dirt has had the opportunity to settle over winter.

The Request for Council Decision did note that the intersection of 50 Avenue and 53 Street will be paved in 2022 due to high traffic volume.

2021 financial statements

The Town of Stettler has received the audited 2021 financial statements from Gitzel and Company.

Prepared by town administration, it is a requirement to have the town financial statements audited every year by an outside source.

“We had a clean audit opinion,” said Switenky.

“We’re coming out of a two-year COVID period in responisble shape. The community is moving forward in good financial health.”

Switenky did note that unexpected things can always occur with budgets, especilly where it comes to grant funding from the province, but for now things look optimistic.

Heartland Youth Centre

Winnie Bisset of the Heartland Youth Centre attended the council meeting with a trophy in hand for the four members of council who were on top that did the most fundraising for a non-business entity or group as part of the Bowl for Kids fundraiser.

The team, consisting of Mayor Sean Nolls, Cherly Barros, Wayne Smith and Gord Lawlor raised around $1,000 for the event.

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