The preliminary 2014 budget for the County of Stettler was discussed and approved at their regular Council meeting on January 15, 2014. The final budget and any mill rate adjustments will be approved once property assessments are finalized and the revenues confirmed.
Council approved adding a track hoe ($252,000) in this year’s capital budget. With the excessive snow and the potential for flooding in the spring it was felt the track hoe was a priority. It will be purchased this year and budgeted over a two-year period. In addition, the Public Works Department will be able to purchase two new graders.
The Agriculture Service Board received approval to purchase a big spray truck ($120,000) and a utility terrain vehicle ($35,000) for woodworm spraying.
The completion of the Erskine Truck water fill will be funded from a reserve fund established for this purpose in 2013. Council has also approved pulling money from reserves to cover off a portion of the Red Willow Truck fill at $110,000.
A request for $110,000 for the dust control project was not approved as Council felt there was a need for additional testing time. The type of dust control chosen (SB90), which was the most effective of those tested, hasn’t weathered a full 12-month cycle yet.
Council encouraged users to check out the County’s new website at www.stettlercounty.ca. The new website is aimed at giving county residents the ability to voice their opinions through discussion boards, blogs, twitter or opinion polls. There is a job board and a Bid Posting area as well.
It’s the County’s intent to also post regular YouTube videos in 2014. Users will need to create a personal account if they want to be alerted automatically to County news, events and information.
With the closing of the Federal Government’s Indian Head Shelterbelt Nursery and their free tree shelterbelt program, the County investigated options for tree purchases at a reasonable cost.
Of the two quotes received, Marketland Nursery of Bowden was chosen. Their slightly higher per tree cost was offset with lower freight charges and had a better selection of trees. The cost per shelterbelt trees is $1 to $1.50 each which include native species. Ornamental/fruiting species are also available for $4 – $14 per tree.
Under this program, the County is the broker and all orders must be placed through them. If the total order is over $1,000, all shipping is free. The cancelled federal program provided free trees while this program is user pay. The County will provide the administration of the program as a service to their ratepayers.