Stettler County council had a full agenda of policy updates to discuss at the Mar. 8 regular meeting.
Every policy is up for review this year.
Beginning with an examination of the County Policy and Procedures manual, numerous policies and procedures were found to be either out of date or addressed in other formats.
These obsolete policies and procedures were formally reviewed and rescinded by council.
Also reviewed were numerous policies concerning public works, agricultural and administrative issues.
Of note were the appointment of CAO Tim Fox as the Head of the Public Body to administer the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) Act. Also an amendment to the Control of Clubroot Disease in Canola policy from a 5-year to a 4-year cultivation restriction.
Botha FCSS funding
A recommendation that the county approve to pay one half of the Village of Botha’s 2017 Municipal Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) Contribution was approved.
For the past two years, the Village of Botha has directed their funding to the Stettler FCSS.
Since the village is currently under a viability review, they did not budget to participate in the FCSS program in 2017.
If Botha were to formally pull out of the FCSS funding agreement, the Provincial contribution of $6,525 would be pulled from this area and distributed elsewhere in Alberta.
Currently the County of Stetter and the Town of Stettler have an agreement with Stettler FCSS to fund their program on an ongoing basis.
The county and the town will share the 2017 expense of Botha’s $1631 mandatory municipal contribution, thereby retaining $8,156 for local programs with Stettler FCSS.
Bridge work awarded
This past February the county received four proposals for 2017 bridge repair work.
Tenders from Bridgeman Services at $137,600, Formula Alberta Ltd. at $114,000, S & K Structures Ltd. at $293,265 and Griffin Contracting Ltd. at $101,250 were reviewed.
After a question and answer session discussing the scope of work, wide range of prices and contractor qualifications, council accepted the recommendations from the Engineering and Public Works departments and awarded the proposal to Griffin Contracting Ltd.
2017 Municipal Elections
As municipalities begin to gear up for the 2017 municipal elections set for Oct. 16, county administration brought forward the county’s need to appoint a Returning Officer.
After assessing the available options, the decision was made to appoint an independent contractor for the position and advertising will begin immediately.
While county administration is fully qualified and has experience running elections, it was determined that hiring an independent contractor would curtail any questions concerning the integrity of the election.
Electoral boundary issues
After expressing an interest in running for office in the Erskine-Buffalo Lake Ward, Mr. Chris Rider found that he is currently ineligible to run in that ward due to boundary issues.
Two properties on the edge of Erskine, including Mr. Rider’s, do not fall into the hamlet boundaries and consequently are in the Stettler Ward, not Erskine-Buffalo Lake.
According to the Municipal Government Act a council may, by bylaw, divide a municipality into wards, but such a bylaw must be advertised and must be passed at least 180 days before the election at which it is to take effect.
With next municipal election taking place on Oct. 16 any boundary change bylaw would have to be passed by April 18, unreasonably rushing the process in order to achieve the legislated deadlines.
Council also had to consider the possible dissolution of the Village of Botha which would require the municipality to complete a full electoral boundary review.
With these issues on the table, council decided not to review the Erskine Electoral Boundary changes prior to the 2017 election.