Stettler town council concerned about oil and gas assessment review

Finance Minister Travis Toews, left, with Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner, spoke in Stettler Aug. 20. Toews gave a rather grim economic update, touching on both the coronavirus pandemic and energy industry woes. ECA Review/S.Salkeld

Town of Stettler council voiced concern at their regular meeting Aug. 18 about the provincial government’s oil and gas assessment review and the trickle-down effects it could have on the town if approved.

Councillors read a letter from the County of Stettler addressed to Premier Jason Kenney, noting the rural municipality sent councillors and staff to attend a protest at the legislature at the end of July, apparently the first time rural councillors have ever done that.

Reeve Larry Clarke stated in the letter their assessment review proposals appear to shift tax burden away from multinational corporations and onto rural Albertans. 

He also noted rural councils recently had to cut millions of dollars from their budgets after the province approved the shallow gas well changes.

Town Chief Administrative Officer Greg Switenky stated at the meeting the proposals, if approved by the provincial government, will have a large financial impact on rural municipalities, indirectly on towns. 

He noted a lot of financial agreements between towns and counties are based on assessment.

It was stated Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner, who has already met with municipalities about this issue, was planning another such meeting before the end of August.

It was stated the Town of Stettler sent a letter under the name of Mayor Sean Nolls to Edmonton supporting the county.

Councillors accepted the letter for information.

 Pool update

Switenky noted the Stettler Rec Centre swimming pool has re-opened, but work on the roof isn’t done yet.

Coun. Scott Pfeiffer stated he was recently at the pool and was impressed with how well organized it is, including pandemic measures and re-opening. 

He said the “family bubble” swim, where family members can swim together, was a good idea.

Bad curb

Coun. Al Campbell asked about a bad curb located at 44th Ave. where some recent patchwork was done. He said it appeared a section of the curb was damaged or missing.

Switenky stated it likely will be replaced, but the contractor just hasn’t gotten around to it yet.

Tax payments

During the regular financial reports, assistant CAO Steven Gerlitz noted taxes are coming into the town office very well.

Many municipalities were concerned that the coronavirus shutdown might affect people’s ability to pay their taxes.

COVID costs

During financial reports, Gerlitz noted it appears the coronavirus pandemic has cost the Town of Stettler $15,309, plus staff time.

 

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.

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