Morrin has new mayor, Howard Helton resigns

Written by Stu Salkeld

The Village of Morrin named a new mayor at their organizational meeting Oct. 21 after accepting the resignation of Howard Helton. 

The annual organizational meeting was held before the regular meeting of council, both conducted via teleconference to meet pandemic guidelines. 

Because the sound quality of the teleconference is not always clear, it’s not always possible for listeners to clearly understand who at the council meeting is speaking, voting or making motions.

At the beginning of the organizational meeting Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner called for nominations for mayor, and someone nominated Coun. M’Liss Edwards. 

It was stated Edwards accepted the nomination and it was passed.

Then a call for deputy mayor nominations was made and someone nominated Coun. Melissa Wilton.

She accepted the nomination and it was passed.

As the organizational meeting continued previous mayor Howard Helton’s absence wasn’t mentioned.

Other board and commission seats were confirmed and the organizational meeting was closed.

Hotel developments

Councillors listened to a report from CAO Plachner about a development application from the Morrin Hotel during the regular meeting that was convened. 

The hotel, located on Main Street, wishes to add a deck to the business.

According to information presented at the council meeting the application stated the deck will be 12 feet high and 180 square feet and the applicant would like to see it completed by Oct. 31.

The application included a drawing. 

Councillors unanimously approved the request.

Public Works report

It was stated in the council meeting the village has received title for the Noble house and is proceeding with demolition.

However, during the regular Public Works report submitted by David Benci, councillors were told Gallagher Trucking was apparently too busy to respond to village requests about demolition of the house. 

Hence, Benci stated he was “instructed to  contact John Booth to expedite the work.”

Councillors also unanimously approved replacing a pressure relief valve and piping for the water treatment plant. The parts have been ordered and Benci stated the work will be done as soon as possible. No costs were provided.

Benci also stated in his report, “The camera work done by Certa identifies problems with all the homes except one on 2nd Ave North. 

“The majority of the residents are not having any issues with their sewer systems. 

“There are four that will need to be addressed. Please advise on how to proceed with repairs.”

Also, Benci stated in his report, “The coin operation of the water plant is not functioning. A decision needs to be made on how to proceed with the replacement of this equipment. Quotes have been received.” 

Council did not discuss in the open meeting the quotes received and no decision was forthcoming on either of the two requests from Benci.

School grant

Councillors approved granting $50,000 to the Friends of Morrin School, who this past summer asked the village for help in building a new school.

During the council meeting the mayor, deputy mayor or CAO (it wasn’t clear who) made comments about how this topic should be discussed at the meeting despite not being on the approved agenda. 

At least one comment could be heard on the teleconference stating the discussion should be held to make the decision “legal,” although no further comment explaining this was made.

Eventually it was stated this topic should be included under old business. It was stated earlier in the meeting that there was no  ‘old business’.

Mayor Edwards stated a motion should be made granting $50,000 to the Friends group, but no decision should be made on where the money was coming from until after meeting with the municipal auditors. 

A motion to this effect was passed.

Mayor’s resignation

Councillors discussed the resignation of Mayor Helton from council. 

The new mayor and deputy mayor passed a resolution accepting Helton’s resignation.

Office computer

Councillors approved $1,452 for the new office computer already purchased. 

It was stated the old computer froze up during an audit. It was reported three quotes were received for the computer.

Financial statements and the 2019 Audited Financial Statements which still requires approval by councillors, were not provided to council as per the agreement with the hiring of Chartered Accountant Monica Faupel, the village auditor.

Marigold Library

CAO Plachner provided the mayor and deputy mayor a requisition from the Marigold Library system, an annual billing for services rendered. Billing is based on a per capita system. 

Council approved the Marigold requisition.


Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.