County of Paintearth council was presented with a healthy $4,959,655 surplus for the 2020 budget year.
At their meeting on Tues. March 10, they determined five key areas this money could be put to good use in.
Much of this surplus came from a “quiet winter” where there was not as much activity in terms of labour, fuel usage and other extra costs according to county corporate services director Lana Roth.
Coun. George Glazier asked that $10,000 be distributed to the Agricultural Service Board (ASB) from their operating contingency as it is $30,000 short from grants.
Aside from that, over $1.25M will be put towards gravel land, $110,000 towards the Brownfield water project, $1M in sewer projects, and $1M for road development, more specifically bridges.
The final $1,260,476 will be distributed to various smaller projects in the county like $37,481 for administration equipment and furniture, $12,605 for land development and parks and recreation and $504,190 for public works equipment and machinery.
The Brownfield water project will see $248,651 added to this budget.
Council approved the surplus with the amendment to add the $10,000 in ASB support from the operating contingency.
Val Cornell, Town of Coronation library board chair, and Coronation Librarian Chelsea Peacock gave an update and statistics from the Coronation Public Library.
For 2019, there were 75 children programs so the pair presenting felt they were “doing pretty well in that department.”
Library card holders have gone up in numbers every year since 2016. 2019 was no different as 802 people now have a card.
A tally is kept everyday for in-person visits. Cornell reported there were 8,746 of these visits as well as 4,151 virtual visits.
Over 1,450 library materials were used including everything from programming, showing movies or kits.
As for library programs, the number of participants has increased in each one, with an overall increase of 207 participants.
Overall they put on 24 less programs were hosted in 2019 compared to 2018 due to less volunteers and staff.
This is a key area the library is trying to make better as time goes on.
The Summer Reading Program has been a huge benefit to the community.
This year the library had 336 children participate in this program as well as 29 volunteers with 24 of those being youth under 18 years of age.
The young volunteers put in 152 hours in total.
“It’s a good reward for them with certificates and how much time they put into it. There was more interest in the volunteering rather than the reading itself,” said Cornell.
Castor rodeo grounds help
Castor rodeo’s executives asked the county for help with the current state of the outdoor arena’s footing by requesting the donation of some county trucks to haul sand to the arena.
Large amounts of sand would be beneficial to making the arena better equipped for future use.
“Currently the footing is extremely hard and often becomes cement like with any kind of moisture,” explained Davis Cox, Castor Team Roping club vice president, in his letter to council.
Dwayne and Marie Bignell have already offered to donate the sand needed but approximately 16 trips, four trucks with four loads each, are required from their home 40km away from the local grounds.
County employees have also mentioned they would be willing to volunteer their time on the weekend to get this underway.
Council accepted the suggestion, allowing the use of the trucks for this purpose.
Damaged windshield repair
On the morning of Wed. Feb. 19, one of the county’s gravel trucks passed a local farmer in his tractor on Secondary Highway 599 between range road 131 and 133 at approximately 6:30 a.m.
As the two passed each other, a rock hit the front windshield of the tractor, ultimately shattering it. GPS and the county employee operating the truck both confirm the timeline to be accurate.
The owner provided pictures of the damage as well as the cost to replace it which was $526.05.
Council agreed to pay for the replacement as done in the past.
The county has opted to purchase a drone for surveying, measuring gravel pits and stockpiles, reclamation projects and more at a price of $10,807.09.
In an average year, the county pays between $7,000 and $10,000 for outsourced help but with their own drone they can do what they need quicker with staff who are already trained in operating the high-tech equipment.