Stettler county council somewhat unanimously approved by resolution a loan of up to $2.6 million to pay for four brand new graders that will be arriving next year.
The resolutions to approve applying for a loan were mostly unanimously passed at the Oct. 11 regular meeting of council.
Councillors heard a presentation by Director of Municipal Services Andrew Brysiuk regarding Bylaw 1710-23, a bylaw to allow the County of Stettler to apply for a loan of up to $2.6 million to pay for brand new graders.
“As discussed through the budget presentation, the intention is to utilize short-term financing to purchase the graders,” stated Brysiuk’s memo to council. “The term of the loan is proposed as three years.”
During discussion Brysiuk stated earlier in 2023 councillors approved the purchase of five new graders for the county and he stated it looks like the first four will be delivered in the first quarter of 2024.
He added that the plan at that time was to do three-year lending which was what had been done with the “previous batch.”
Brysiuk stated the previous loan taken out by the County of Stettler had been paid off.
The dollar amount wasn’t mentioned in the memo, but the bylaw itself stated, “Whereas, in order to complete the project, it will by necessary for the Municipality to borrow the sum of $2,617,060.00 for a period not to exceed three (3) years, from the Royal Bank of Canada, the Alberta Capital Finance Authority and/or other authorized financial institution(s), by the issuance of debentures and on the terms and conditions referred to in this bylaw, and such other terms and conditions as the financial institutions may require.”
Brysiuk’s memo noted that the County of Stettler would pay interest on the loan.
“The indicative interest rate as of October 1, 2023 for a 3-year loan from the Province to Local Authorities was 5.91 per cent,” stated the memo.
During discussion Brysiuk acknowledged interest rates are not currently at their lowest levels.
“Definitely not the cheap money we’ve seen before, but still within the realm of reasonable,” said Brysiuk.
The Municipal Government Act gives municipalities the authority to borrow money but must pass a bylaw to do so; the bylaw must contain the loan’s dollar amount and the reason for the debenture.
As well, interest and loan terms must be included along with the method the County of Stettler plans to use to pay off the loan.
All readings necessary to bring the borrowing bylaw into effect were passed at the council meeting, and three of the readings, first, second and a motion to consider third reading, were passed unanimously.
However, third reading was passed by a 6 to 1 vote, Coun. Dave Grover voting against it.
Readers should note that if all three readings of a bylaw are to be passed at the first meeting the bylaw is presented, an extra motion to consider third reading must be included and it must be unanimously passed; if it isn’t, third reading is scheduled for a future meeting.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter