Next steps for Stettler County public works shop

At a special council meeting held July 6, Stettler County council voted to defeat Borrowing Bylaw 1564 to borrow $5.2 million for construction of a new county shop.

After the June 27 plebiscite on the Bylaw 1564 came back with a ‘no’ vote from ratepayers, council had no option but to defeat the bylaw according to the requirements of the Municipal Government Act.

Council considered the next steps for the new shop at the special meeting, debating whether it would be necessary to sell capital assets to fund the building or to use reserves to pay for the construction.

Councillors took turns stating their views on how to proceed.

“We have money in reserves to build the shop. It wouldn’t be fiscally responsible to do that,” stated Reeve Wayne Nixon.

Now that the construction season is half over, which would push the project into winter, Nixon indicated the costs could go up because of the delays.

Coun. Les Stulberg pegged the additional costs of the plebiscite, the special meetings to deal with the petitions and further engineering costs at around $100,000 of money “wasted” that could have gone towards the project.

Two councillors that have been opposed to the project, Dave Grover and Ernie Gendre, both expressed wishes to reconsider the design of the shop.

Grover contended that the county needs to build something “more fiscally responsible”, while Gendre took issue with the project contractor, Scott Builders.

Both Nixon and Coun. James Nibourg responded to Gendre’s query about how council decided on Scott Builders, over other contractors that bid on the project.

“It was a 4 – 3 vote,” stated Nixon.

“This council decided to go with Scott,” responded Nibourg.

Grover also wanted gravel testing done on any land the county might want to sell. CAO Tim Fox indicated some of the parcels have already been tested but any that haven’t could be tested prior to being sold.

Council requested that administration bring back all options for funding the construction for the

July 13 meeting as well as whether any of the existing tenders will have to be retendered because of delays.

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