Residents in the Village of Halkirk will be returning to the polls for the second time in under a year when a November by-election to select a new council is held.
A by-election was made necessary when all three village councillors resigned at the end of August.
To help the community navigate through the process of the by-election and ensure that services continue uninterrupted, Alberta’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs has appointed Ian McCormack, of Strategic Steps Inc., to serve as the official administrator of the village until the by-election can be held.
In the role of administrator, McCormack will assume the role of council, approving minutes and making motions authorizing spending.
According to McCormack, his role is to “fill the gap between the last council and the next council.” That said, his sole focus will be on general operations of the village, and nothing more.
“Any decision that can wait for the council will wait for the new council,” said McCormack, introducing himself during the Sept. 27 council meeting.
The main focus of the September meeting was to determine when the village would return to the polls; provided a sufficient number of village residents step forward and stand for nomination, the by-election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 21,
Prior to the election, a nomination period will occur, running from Sept. 28 to Oct. 24; all candidate nominations must be submitted by the close of business on Oct. 24.
Village chief administrative officer (CAO) Tamara Salboda has been appointed as the returning officer for the November vote.
Voting will occur at the Halkirk Seniors’ Centre from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; an advance vote will occur on the same day from 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. at the same location, however, those unable to attend the vote in person will be able to request the returning officer attend their home to collect the ballot also during this time.
A deputy returning officer has not yet been appointed.
While the village has received its Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding from the province, McCormack was informed that several other grants that Sloboda was working on at the time of the council resignation have all been put “on hold” until a new council is elected.
Several other projects, such as the website re-design and SharePoint portal have also been placed on the back-burner until a new council is elected.
Still, despite the speed bumps for the grant funding, the village financials are “on target” according to Sloboda, with $663,000 available in the coffers.
“We have more than actually budgeted due to the grant,” said Sloboda.
As administrator, McCormack has approved the development permit for the construction of a back deck for a home on Berry Street.
While the permit is typically something that would be held off until a new council is in place, due to the short timelines left in the 2023 construction season, the project aligning with the village Municipal Development Plan, and no complaints having been received, McCormack decided to allow it so it could be constructed this year.
The meeting adjourned shortly before 5:30 p.m.; the next meeting will be held in November prior to the election due to scheduling conflicts in October for McCormack.