County lessens restrictions on councillor

Kneehill County’s organizational meeting held Oct. 27 saw a change in the conditions of Coun. Bobby Painter’s council duties. Painter will be allowed to attend the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties convention in Edmonton November 17 and 18 but still has no committee duties assigned to him.

Coun. Gerry Wittstock motioned that Painter’s suspension implemented last year remain as is but the motion was defeated. Coun. Carol Calhoun then motioned that Painter be allowed to attend convention, which was passed.

Coun. Ken Hoppins then motioned that all other committee duties remain as they were last year, which was passed, effectively eliminating any chance for Painter to request to sit on any committees.

When contacted for comment and asked if he had ever seen a council make such a motion rather than going through the committees one by one, Painter said he had not seen that in the time he’s been a councillor.

But as Coun. Painter stated “I’m happy to get this far.” Painter remarked that he wasn’t as concerned with the committees but really wanted to attend convention.

According to Painter, the Municipal Affairs inquiry into Painter’s actions that was requested by Kneehill County has fallen by the wayside.

As far as Painter knows, the request was rejected but a letter confirming that has not been sent to council and he hasn’t heard anything more about it.

Bob Long remains as reeve and Jerry Wittstock as deputy reeve.

Provincial roadways on the decline

A complete reconstruction of the Hwy 27 cave in was necessary and cost well in excess of $100,000 according to Alberta Transportation Operations Manager Tony Chelick, who appeared before council with updates of provincial road conditions within the county.

A dozen similar slides have appeared on county roads this year, making prioritizing and planning difficult for maintenance crews.

“It looks like we’re just fighting fires,” stated Chelick regarding the difficulties crews are facing trying to maintain roads on restrictive budgets.

According to Chelick, the summer maintenance budget took a 30 per cent cut and he doesn’t hold out much hope for improvement.

While the province made a commitment earlier this year to maintain major highways, secondary highways and weed control were not priorities.

The 2015 provincial budget announced Oct. 27 earmarked $9.1 billion over five years towards transportation and water projects. A map showing projected construction projects 2015-2018, available online at Alberta Transportation, appears to show a very limited number of projects in the county.

Funding for organizations

A number of county organizations will receive grant money following ‘round two’ of disbursements from the Community Grants to Non Profit Organizations.

The following grants were approved: Three Hills Arts Academy – $2,019, Seniors Outreach – $700, Trochu Golf and Country Club – $5,000, Trochu Valley Historical Society – $5,000, Three Hills Figure Skating Club – $2,960 and St. Hilda’s Arthurvale Cemetery – $4,000.

The Acme Community Centre Society, whose board members Jane Allan and Darcy Penner appeared as a delegation before council requesting funds to repaint the centre, was granted $14,500 plus tax. As well, the Torrington and District Ag Society’s request for $5,000 for a new arena heater was incorporated into the county’s operating budget as the building is county owned.

Kneehill Wellness Centres will receive a one time grant in the amount of $2,500 to come from operational contingency. This is in addition to the $1500 per year the county funds the Centres.

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