Council learns of liability issues according to MGA

Morrin council motioned to sign an interim agreement with the County of Starland to have a certified water operator look after the village water plant until the village had time to fill the position left open when Glen Riep of Pier Enterprises resigned at the end of May.

Village of Morrin had made the written request at the last Starland council meeting on May 27 which had been taken into a closed session deeming it to be a personnel issue.

The agreement is up to 45 days, June 1 to July 15, 2020 for $650 or 30 days or if needed, $975 for the full 45 days.

In other county business, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Annette Plachner confirmed when asked by Mayor Helton if the County of Starland has paid the $127,463 for the generator and cost overruns at the water plant.

“Yes, I got the receipt today,” said Plachner,

Unbeknownst to council, they had learned through an article in the Drumheller Mail that this invoice was outstanding and upon investigation found that Starland had sent the invoice to the village office on March 11, 2020.

Mayor Helton pointed out in the meeting that this expenditure had already been approved in 2019.

Mayor Helton read portions of the Municipal Affairs Act, Section 248 regarding the expenditure of money by council stating that as they were still operating on the ‘interim budget’ which is the 2019 budget that was passed June 2019, no new expenses can be authorized until such time as those expenses are included in the approved 2020 budget.

If council authorizes expenditures outside of this budget, then councillors are personally liable.

“To my understanding, [of this section of the MGA]… anything that is in that [2019 budget], things like wages, admin costs, that $127,000 for Starland which was approved in 2019, general operating things like phone bills, gas bills, etc. is okay.  Is that correct Annette?”

“Yes, that’s true,” confirmed CAO Plachner.

Tree placement

Tree placement was discussed, however, Helton pointed out that council had already provided direction where the new trees would be placed.

The Tree Policy established last year outlined that trees and tree stumps removed from boulevards would be replaced with new ones.

Sewer work

Coun. M’Liss Edwards raised issues by email regarding the status of cameraing the sewer lines.

She explained actions saying her understanding that discussions held would fall under the 2019 budget allotment and had thought it was okay to move forward.

Mayor Helton confirmed that Howard’s had been cameraed but it was discovered that the laterals on 2nd Ave. N. were never replaced when the main line was done a few years ago.

Council had determined to get all the quotes for that and Hampton’s before moving ahead so that the contractor could come and do it all. 

“But not having it in the 2019 budget, I’ve learned that according to the MGA Section 248, we cannot do it until we put it into and pass the 2020 budget or we would be liable as per Section 275 of the MGA,” concluded Mayor Helton.


J. Webster

ECA Review

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