Hanna Council: Community service grants questioned

Hanna town council discussed a proposal from the Hanna Pickleball Club to install wind screens and explored the role of community service grants in supporting local non-profits at their regular council meeting May 15.

The club requested wind screens on four sides of the courts to improve play conditions.  They proposed a cost-sharing arrangement, with the town covering 75 per cent of the $8,000 project and the club covering 25 percent, including providing labour for installation.

In a letter to council it was explained that the pickleball is a light weight wiffle ball and that wind affects play with the ideal wind speed being under 10 kilometres per hour for play.  Historical data shows wind in the area is generally above 10 kilometres per hour 70 per cent of the time.

Coun. Sandra Beaudoin suggested that the club consider fundraising or seeking sponsorship to mitigate the financial impact on the town, which was already stretched by other projects including the downtown renovation.

“I would like for them to come back with another option.”

Coun. Kyle Olsen expressed that he was happy with their proposal, noting that they were willing to provide financial support as well as labour for the project.

“I’m happy to see the facility being used. It’s been the goal from day one,”  said Oleson.

Chief Administration Officer (CAO) Kim Neill agreed.

Coun. Angie Warwick suggested that council take a broader perspective and mentioned that more groups are coming forward with requests for funding.

Coun. Beaudoin agreed, pointing out that the town should represent the entire community fairly.

“I think we will be at a crossroads quite quickly,” expressed Warwick “who do we give to and who do we say no to?”

Warwick noted that the Hanna Community Garden Society submitted a request for $6720 for an underground sprinkler system and the ball diamond asked for $4000 for a sea can.

“Where is the money going to come from,” asked Warwick?

She suggested that council look at the Community Services Grant.

“Where do we begin and where do we end when people from the non-profit community come to us looking for money?” suggesting that timelines for applications be made so fair opportunities are given to all organizations in the community.

“I think it’s wonderful that the group is putting down 25 per cent of the cost because they don’t own the windscreen, we do.” voiced Coun. Sandra Murphy.  “They are asking for money to enhance our property.”

“Is every ask relevant, is every ask something we accommodate?” wondered Warwick. “How do we decide on the dollars that are going out?”

Coun. Beaudoin agreed asking where council should draw the line and suggested that the town should be the last resource that groups approach and only after all other opportunities have been exhausted. “What other effort have they put in before asking for that money?”

Council motioned to accept the wind screen proposal from the Hanna Pickleball Club and motioned that administration purchase wind screens for the four sides of the fence at the Town of Hanna Pickleball/Tennis court facility in the amount of $8,000 with the funds derived through the Town of Hanna operating budget and a contribution from the Hanna Pickleball club.

Operating budget and tax rate bylaw
Adjustments to the adopted budget were required for various reasons prior to setting the 2024 Tax Rates and the 2024 Operating and Capital Budget has been adjusted to reflect a decrease of three per cent change to the residential municipal tax rate from 2023, a one per cent decrease to the non-residential municipal tax rate from 2023, and a transfer to surplus in the amount of $6,140.

It was noted that the residential and farmland tax rate changed from 14.3476 to 13.8080, and the non-residential tax rate decreased from 18.1574 to 17.9507.

As presented in the spring budget adjustments, the total assessed values of properties have increased from the 2023 assessments by $19,332,400. The assessments on taxable properties increased by $17,205,270.

The education property tax rate decreased slightly, and the Acadia Foundation requisition decreased which led to minor tax rate reductions.

The tax rate bylaw, supported by the operating and capital budget, allows for tax notices to be mailed out in June.

Council moved to adopt the 2024 Operating and Capital Budget dated May 14, 2024, as amended by the Spring Budget Adjustments; and accepted the 2025 and 2026 Operating Budgets and the 2025 – 2027 Capital Budget for information.

Council moved to pass third reading of Bylaw 1034-2024, the Tax Rate Bylaw.

Animal Control Bylaw
Council discussed the draft Animal Control Bylaw, which included provisions for urban hens.

The bylaw outlined limits of households to four hens, the requirements of a Premises Identification (PID), completion of an Urban Chicken training course, and town approval of coops.

Roosters would not be permitted and the hen licence fee would be set at $50 per hen.

Administration proposed to develop a public engagement plan for further council approval before moving to the second reading of the bylaw.

Council passed a motion to give first reading to Bylaw 1035-2024, the Animal Control Bylaw.

Cheryl Bowman
Multimedia Reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Cheryl Bowman

Cheryl spent most of her childhood in Stettler, growing up on a quarter section north of town. After graduating from Stettler Composite High School she moved to Calgary where she worked in various industries, attended The University of Calgary and raised a family.

She enjoyed volunteering and contributed in a variety of ways, such as writing articles for the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and covering charitable events as a photographer.

She moved back to Stettler in 2023 where she still has family.