Town approves $2K increase in museum budget

The final Town of Stettler council meeting of 2016, held Tuesday, Dec. 20, was a short one, with the council approving the 2017 Stettler...

The final Town of Stettler council meeting of 2016, held Tuesday, Dec. 20, was a short one, with the council approving the 2017 Stettler Town and Country Museum budget at $32,000, a $2,000 increase over the previous year.

The museum will be asking for that same increase year over year for the next five years, to help it cover basic operating costs as well as some major, and necessary, repairs to the historical buildings on the 10-acre site.

The request to increase the town’s portion of the museum’s budget is being echoed with a similar request to the County of Stettler, which also contributes to the museum’s coffers. Fundraisers, grants and bequests make up the rest of the museum’s annual budget.

Projects for 2017 include the remaining renovations to the train caboose, continued repairs to the Ransom School, Pole Barn repairs, Courthouse repairs, and maintenance to the main building.

The museum also intends to erect a gazebo as part of its Wilda Gibbon memorial. Gibbon, a decades-long supporter and volunteer with the Museum, passed away in May 2015.

In 2016, the museum engaged in several projects, including completing the restoration of the Estonian Log House, new cedar shakes on the Ransom School and 1905 Whetsel School, new pressure-treated wood ramps to the Ransom, Whetsel and Nevis buildings, a new deck and stairs on the Felix Bunkhouse, which was also stabilized.

The museum brings in money through several fundraising events, including the Light the Night event during December, the Antique Tractor Raffle split with the Antique Tractor Club, the annual pancake breakfast and garage sale, the Canada Day party, and the October Night of Terror at the Boo-seum.

Costs are kept to the barest minimum possible through the dedication of hard-working volunteers.

Town confirms Village of White Sands agreementThe Town of Stettler voted to accept a contract to provide administrative and accounting services to the Summer Village of White Sands.

The village will pay the town $32,000 per year for 2017-18, with a revisit to the contract in 2019. The contract covers a five-year period, ending in 2021.

Under the contract, the town will handle the recording, filing and storage of village meeting minutes and correspondence, handle computerized bookkeeping and records retention, handle the village’s property taxation system, and provide an employee to be the village CAO, to name a few of the responsibilities.

Committee of the Whole recommendations approvedCouncil approved three recommendations put forward by the Committee of the Whole, which addressed snow and ice control, the phase 2 Stettler Recreation Centre (SRC) project, and the Canada 150 Community Leaders nominations.

The Snow and Ice control policy was updated to include the maintenance of two new pathway systems developed during the summer and autumn months. The two pathways, one in the Emmerson subdivision and the other across the road from the SRC, were either complete or almost complete before the snow fell, according to Steve Gerlitz, the town’s assistant CAO.

“Emmerson is done,” he said. “The pathway across from the SRC is in gravel form, and will have to be finished in the spring.”

The early snowfall this autumn threw a wrench in the completion of the town’s ambitious pathways development, though other pathway additions around West Stettler Park were also completed.

The second recommendation of the committee came at the suggestion of John Hull, the architect of the phase 2 project at the SRC. At his guidance, the committee recommended the town sole-source the structural roofing study to Lex 3 Engineering, as they were the company that handled the study for phase 1.

The company’s familiarity with the facility would be of great benefit, Hull said in his report. The cost of the study is $28,000, plus GST, with funding to come from the Intermunicipal Collaboration component of the Alberta Community Partnership Grant as well as the 2016 capital budget.

Finally, the town chose Mayor Dick Richards, Councillor Will Brown, and Director of Parks and Leisure Services Lee Penner to be the town’s “community leaders” with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

These community leaders are essentially liaisons between the town and FCM in regard to the coming Canada 150 celebrations being held across the nation in 2017.