Stettler RCMP Staff Sgt. Phil Penny attended council with a standard quarterly report to keep council in the know.
For the most part, Sgt. Penny found this quarter and year to be “pretty good.”
They have had plenty of success with remanding some of their most prolific property offenders in town with a large sweep in September.
They remanded between eight and nine people in two and a half weeks which is unusually busy for the department.
From March to November, five new people including a brand new corporal are on staff, filling the positions that were desperately needed to be filled not too long ago.
“I think we are in pretty good shape,” said Sgt. Penny.
No traffic statistics were available.
An interesting note was how the legalization of cannabis has not been a problem for law enforcement.
“I never noticed an increase,” said Sgt. Penny. One person has a file for
impaired under the influence but for the most part, things have been going smoothly, especially for Alberta being the highest consumer of cannabis in the country.
Education has been a key value to remaining visible and accessible within the community.
This detachment alone has done seven educational talks about crime prevention for the fiscal year while only required to do a minimum of three.
Coffee with a Cop is an informal place for conversation.
Penny told council that 50 people were in attendance for their event in Donalda continuing to address hot button issues.
More opportunities are being organized for November.
Council conducted their annual organizational meeting before their regular council meeting on Tue. Oct. 15.
Moved by Coun. Al Campbell, the Town of Stettler Council approved the schedule of appointments to the Office of the Deputy Mayor on an eight consecutive month rotational basis with each councillor holding the office once during the term.
The schedule begins with Coun. Scott Pfeiffer then Coun. Gord Lawlor, Coun. Malcolm Fischer, Coun. Cheryl Barros, Coun. Wayne Smith and lastly Coun. Campbell.
Sean Nolls resumed his role as mayor.
All committees and boards in which councillors sit on were approved with little changes.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Greg Switenky offered help to council if they didn’t fully understand anything that was discussed.
Parkland Regional Library budget passed
Council passed the Parkland Regional Library budget for 2020.
In it, a four per cent increase in per capita requisition has totalled to $8.55 per person.
This is an increase from the 2019 per capita of $8.25.
This $0.30 represents a requisition increase for the Town of Stettler of $1,785.60 based on the Town’s population of 5952.
The board is set to approve this budget on Nov. 7 at their regional meeting.
A large majority of councils must support the budget in order for it to be approved.
Council found this increase to be a bit rich but CAO Switenky mentioned that the costs of infrastructure for their new building and staffing has increased.
Shallow Gas Tax Relief Initiative
The town of Stettler agreed to cancel 35 per cent of shallow gas taxes in the amount of $217.50 on one property as per the Shallow Gas Tax Relief authorized by the Province.
On July 2, 2019 the Government of Alberta announced they are providing needed tax relief for shallow gas producers in the province.
The plan reduces 2019 taxes on shallow gas wells and pipelines by 35 per cent. This will amount to more than $23 million in total tax relief for impacted companies.
In order to accomplish this, municipalities have cancelled 35 per cent of the total property tax for qualifying properties as well as report the total amount of tax cancellation to Municipal Affairs by Oct. 21, 2019.
They will continue to collect the remaining property taxes from the shallow gas properties.
The Alberta government will reduce education property tax invoices to the town by an equivalent amount.
Alberta Education will then credit the municipality with the equivalent amount on the December 2019 education property tax invoice.
“The effect is a lot less for us than our neighbour,” said Stettler Mayor Sean Nolls.
Seed money contribution
Council passed a motion to support the Rural Health Professionals Attraction and Retention Program in the 2020 budget by donating $1,500 in initial seed money that matches the county’s contribution.
This program is aimed at attracting health care professionals to the area with the intention of making their community an ideal place for these people so they stay longer.