Peace officer to patrol Morrin

Photo David Dodge, Green Energy Futures 10 kilowatt Solar PV system in Morrin Alberta at the water plant installed by Goose Creek Renewable Energy.
Written by Submitted

Morrin councillors approved an agreement with Starland County to utilize the Starland County Peace Officer services at a $100 hourly rate.

The agreement will commence Jan. 1, 2020 and will include general patrolling of the village three hours per month as well as services on an as-needed basis based on public complaints or by village request.

Any fines generated through enforcement will be forwarded to the municipality of jurisdiction.

2020 Interim Budget

Council passed a motion to adopt the 2019 expenditures as the 2020 interim budget until such time as the 2020 budget has been finalized.

According to Municipal Affairs, an interim budget must be passed by Dec. 31 of each year for administration to continue functioning with banking until the 2020 budget is officially approved.

Prior to passing the motion, Mayor Howard Helton asked for a copy of the 2019 expenditures so far this year.

“I can’t give you the budget numbers until we get our audited Financial Statements done,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner.

“[That is] Something that we should see at this time before we just go-ahead and adopt those expenditures – just for our information,” said Helton.

“So what day are we planning this year, rather than having the budget thrown at us two days before we need [to approve it], as was in 2019? When are we going to have all our ducks in a row in January or February?” asked Helton.

“Not until after the audited financial statements we can start the budget,” stated CAO Plachner.

“No, we can start the budget long before that happens,” stated Helton, pointing out that plenty of jurisdictions have already completed budget planning.

“We have two big sewer projects that are pending. There’s a lot of thought that has to be put into it this year,” pressed Helton.

“I don’t care, make a date,” said Plachner.

Council set a budget meeting for Jan. 8, 2020.

Minutes require re-write

Council tabled the minutes from the regular meeting Nov. 20, 2019 to the January meeting as the minutes recorded included items that were discussed outside of the meeting.

“Minutes should record only what is discussed in the meeting,” stated Mayor Helton.

“As there were a number of comments in these minutes that were inserted after the meeting, these minutes will not be ratified until the comments are removed.

“Minutes are a legal document. Council cannot ratify these minutes until corrections are made,” concluded Mayor Helton.

Disbursement invoices missing 

Mayor Helton noted that cheques are still being distributed without council previewing an invoice.

He referred to the janitor contract, the Peir Enterprise contract and the cheque for the CAO’s vacation pay for five weeks.

“So we will approve this cheque [$4,684, CAO vacation pay] now, without actually visually seeing the accounting of the days that you have accounted for this amount?” asked Helton.

“My cheque is already cashed, I’m sorry,” said CAO Plachner. “The cheque is cashed before we even approved it?” asked Helton.

Coun. M’Liss Edwards asked, “Wasn’t it provided at our last meeting?”

“It should have been,” said Coun. Melissa Wilton.

CAO Plachner produced the invoice at the request of council. Mayor Helton reiterated the need for all invoices to be before council for approval before any cheques are signed as per instructions by Endeavor Chartered Accountant, Jeff Faupel who previously pointed out deficiencies to council.

“This invoice should have been in our folder of Accounts Payable in November’s meeting,” stated Helton. Council tabled the quarterly request for the December Bank Reconciliation until the January meeting allowing time for Mayor Helton to provide information to the CAO, at her request, as to what is required for a bank reconciliation.

A motion for quarterly bank reconciliations was made in the April 2019 regular council.

Peir Enterprises

Council again questioned why there were no invoices outlining the work done by Peir Enterprises in their accounts payable.

So far, no invoice has been prepared, outlining what is being specifically done for the village.

“Well, that’s been going on for years,” answered CAO Plachner.

“The County knows that he looks after our water plant because they have a big interest in our water plant.

“To me, that really needs some looking into,” said Helton. “I don’t think it’s very business like, we see Glen over there with Starland’s truck on Starland’s time.”

Helton questioned if it was the county staff that had a large interest in their water supply as it could save the village the monthly contract of $682.59.

“The County has a big interest in our water plant,” reiterated Plachner.

“Of course they do. So does that justify this perhaps double-dipping?” asked Helton.

“Yes, it does because they’re using it to disperse water through our water plant.”

“Then we’re wondering why Glen’s being paid on the side [by the village], on top of County,” said Coun. Wilton.

“So we need to address that with the County and Glen, to see if everyone is fine with the way it is set up,” concluded Wilton.

Website invoice

Council directed CAO Plachner to immediately pay the village’s web administrator, Dave Smeyres for the ‘delinquent’ invoice provided again in the amount of $741.56.

“I don’t know. I’ve got nothing to do with the website,” said CAO Plachner. “I’ve never received an invoice.”

“He’s cc’d me since September,” stated Mayor Helton. “It’s funny it doesn’t come through because it’s emailed to you and he copies me in on it.”

“Well, I never received it,” said Plachner.

A motion had previously been made in the Nov. 20, 2019 meeting to pay the $741.56 for setting up the domain and developing the website followed up by another motion that Mr. Smeyers be contracted for $100 per month to continue to administer the Morrin village website.

Mayor Helton also asked that the invoice for lawyers Brownlee LLP be separated as they “were two different consultations, two different files”.

One invoice for Siemens is for $1920.56 while the second invoice for Council/Plachner is $6391.20.

Library meeting blowup

Coun. Wilton raised concerns over a Morrin Library Board meeting where Chairman Darcy Graham brought up worries regarding the current village council.

Coun. Wilton stated that the meeting was not the appropriate place for an airing of current and past grievances.

“It’s not that I’m angry with anybody but I think we have to figure out a way to sort out these disputes before people could take it as being attacked, being slandered, being harassed,” said Wilton.

“We have to all work together as a town and if it doesn’t work then somebody has to step back,” concluded Wilton.

“We’ve broached this subject to deal with that behaviour,” said Mayor Helton, “And there should be some response by the person that precipitated this behaviour.

Council motioned to require the library board members to attend the Jan. 18 regular meeting as they oversee the board and wished to have an update to sort through these issues.

“I feel that’s more important than an apology, to meet on a common ground, sort things out,” said Coun. Wilton.

“If I’m going to the library board meeting all the time, I’m there as a friend too and as council, but frankly council and volunteers on a board should be able to get along in harmony because we’re all working for the common goal.

“They shouldn’t see me as the enemy. Obviously we need to clear up some issues with them and let’s work with them,” concluded Wilton.

Sewer blockage

Following the sewer camera results showing the sag in the sewer line to be on village property, council motioned to pay all the bills resulting from the sewer blockage and damage for Stephen and Virginia Howard.

Council also motioned to implement a program immediately to camera all the lateral properties on 2nd Ave. North as it appears none of these were replaced when the new mainline was completed.


J. Webster

ECA Review

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