By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Independent
Stettler’s Town council received a delegation from the Stettler Public Library in which they highlighted some of the successes of the past year.
Rhonda O’Neill, the library’s manager, and Jane Skocdopole, the chair of the library board, attended council on behalf of the library to discuss the last year of library activities. Council was blown away by the thoroughness of the report.
The highlight of the report included an update on the 2021 summer reading program, which saw a significant uptick in participation this summer.
Registering 153 children in 2020, participation increased to 214 in 2021, reading a combined 2,510-hours between them.
“You can bribe children,” said Skocdopole with a laugh, referring to the prizes offered up by the library’s many partners in the community.
“We value our partnerships so much. We value our partnership with the Town of Stettler.”
Another area of success the library had was in its utilization during the second shut-down in spring 2021.
Instead of just shutting down, the library continued to operate, offering curb-side service and other supports, such as faxing or emailing documents, to clients.
During the shut-down, which lasted from April 7 to June 10, the library staff responded to 1,769 requests for curb-side service, answered nearly 1,400 phone calls, created 84 take-home kits per week for seniors and children, made 53 deliveries to area lodges, made 19 deliveries to the colonies, and conducted eight visits to Rochon Sands.
“I love all these numbers you are keeping stats on,” said Coun. Wayne Smith. “It’s great to quantify what you are doing. I’m thrilled with the broad range of things you have brought to the community.”
Mayor Sean Nolls agreed with his colleague’s assessment.
“Because you guys are innovative, and you didn’t settle, that’s why you guys are fantastic,” said Nolls.
“This town knows how awesome you are because you are expanding your scope. Thank you for everything you do and continue to do.”
Skocdopole thanked council for their kind words, and for the council’s continuing support.
“You can be very brave when you have people who support you.”
In a motion put forward by Coun. Gord Lawlor, council accepted the presentation as information.
Water reservoir painting
The Town of Stettler’s water reservoir will be getting a fresh look.
Budgeting $50,000 to repaint the reservoir, the Town of Stettler received four quotations for the work, ranging from $42,000 to $188,000.
The low bid was supplied by AlumaSafway Inc., a “Very well reference-checked company,” according to Chief Administrative Officer Greg Switenky.
Based on administration’s recommendation, council motioned to award AlumaSafway Inc. the project for the cost of $41,173, with an $8,000 contingency, keeping the project within the $50,000 budget.
The reservoir will be painted a similar scheme to the nearby firehall.
Atco franchise fee
Council reviewed the Atco franchise fee during their Sept 21 meeting.
The fee, which is reviewed, and can only be adjusted, annually, is a rider on the Stettler resident utility bills, and generates about $805,000 for the community.
Currently, the fee sits at 11.1 per cent; a level it has remained at for the last several years. Under Alberta legislation, the maximum rate for the rider is 20 per cent, a level that “many communities in the province are at” according to Chief Administrative Officer Greg Switenky.
In a motion put forward by Coun. Al Campbell, council voted unanimously in favour of keeping the franchise fee at its current level for one more year.