Deciding Botha’s future

About a dozen residents gathered at the Botha Community Centre on Thurs., May 4 for a final review of the community’s viability report.
Hosted by Viability Review Team (VRT) members Linda Reynolds and Sarah Ranson, both from Municipal Affairs, the public information session was the last opportunity for residents to ask questions before they vote on the future of their community.
Reynolds and Ranson highlighted the critical determining factors found in the viability report which demonstrate that the Village of Botha is clearly not viable at present.
High on the list was Botha’s shortage of business taxpayers, placing most of the burden on homeowners to raise the revenues needed to operate the village.
With low revenues, the village is not able to afford to hire and retain qualified personnel to run the municipality effectively.
An infrastructure audit revealed over $3 million in required repairs and upgrades with $1.2 million needed in the first two years to ensure public safety and health.
The village has no savings to draw from to cope with any unforeseen expenses or to plan for the future.
Two viability options face Botha residents.
The first is that the Village of Botha remains a village and implements changes to achieve viability.
The second is to dissolve the Village of Botha and become a hamlet in Stettler County.
Few questions were posed following the presentation.
After adjournment, a number of attendees revealed that their decisions had already been made and nothing discussed in the information session would change their votes.
One resident predicted a low voter turnout, but hoped that apathy would not leave this important community decision in the hands of only a few residents.
The vote on the future of the Village of Botha will be held on Mon., May 15 at the Botha Community Centre.

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