By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Independent
The Town of Stettler council has approved a new policy for the sale of municipality-owned residential or commercial property.
Coming from the Town of Stettler’s Economic Development committee, the new policy will provide incentives for Stettler real estate agents to sell municipal-owned properties. Under the new policy, local real estate agents will receive a five per cent incentive for all Town-held properties sold.
Real estate agents from out of the area are not excluded from this incentive, however in order to become eligible, they must partner with a local agent. Real estate agents are not eligible for the incentive if they purchase the property themselves, or if they are part owner or manager of any organization that does.
General Election Procedures
The Town of Stettler has approved the procedure for the 2021 general election.
With changes made to the election rules, potential candidates for the council election may submit their nomination papers on the first business day of January, and submissions will remain open until the week before the election is to take place in October.
The Town of Stettler council has appointed Graham Scott as the returning officer, and Lara Angus and Leann Graham as alternate returning officers.
In the procedures approved by council, an advance vote will be held, with a date to be determined.
In addition, “Willow Creek, Heart Haven, Paragon Place, Stettler Hospital & Care Centre, Points West Living and Heritage House, and any other location determined necessary by the Returning Officer,” have been approved for institutional voting.
Interim Operating Budget
The Town of Stettler municipal council has approved the 2021 interim operating budget.
As of now, no increase to tax rates for residential or non-residential tax rolls are anticipated, and garbage and recycling rates are staying the course as well.
“I think it’s very responsible to go forward with a zero budget,” said Coun. Scott Pfeiffer.
“I think we’re doing very well being able to maintain staffing and projects.”
The sentiment was echoed by Mayor Nolls.
“It’s a responsible budget, and easy to read,” said Nolls.
“We don’t know what 2021 is going to look like. It could change by May too. Thanks to administration for putting us in a position that we can easily do this.”
Even maintaining a zero-increase budget, Town of Stettler administration has been able to maintain its current staffing levels. In comparison, the City of Edmonton was discussed during the meeting, saying that it is also maintaining a zero budget, but in the process is requiring the reduction of 300 staff.
“If you can run a municipality at 0 per cent, but have to cut 300 staff, why have them in the first place?” asked Coun. Malcolm Fischer.
“Our services are going to be as good as they’ve ever been.”
After negotiating in good faith with members of the Canadian Union for Provincial Employees Local 971, the Town of Stettler and the union have reached a new contract agreement, which was approved by Council during the Dec. 15th meeting.
The new contract will see a zero per cent raise in 2021, 0.5 per cent in 2022, and another 0.5 per cent in 2023. Per Town of Stettler Policy, the ratified agreement and benefit adjustments will be carried over to all non-union Town of Stettler staff as well.
With the current restrictions in place across the province, and no pressing issues on the upcoming agenda, the Town of Stettler Council has decided to cancel the planned Jan. 5th council meeting, and the Jan. 12th Committee of the Whole meeting, as well as postpone the planned Jan. 11th strategic planning workshop.