Stettler town taxes rise two per cent

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Municipal property taxes for 2017 will be up two per cent in the Town of Stettler.
Presenting the 2017 Operating Budget at the May 2 council meeting, CAO Greg Switenky summarized the budget’s $17,945,711 expenses and total tax levy of $8,160,426 including $2,221,393 to Alberta School Foundation Fund (ASFF) and $290,362 to County of Stettler Housing Authority.
Budget preparations were based on the a 3-year, 2017 – 2019 Interim Operating Budget (approved Dec. 6, 2016), the 2017 Capital Budget (approved Feb. 7, 2017) and taxation options considered at the Council Budget Committee meeting held on April 25.
Highlighting the town’s sample residential property with an assessed value of $272, 290, Switenky indicated a tax hike of $69.20 includes the school, seniors housing and previously approved municipal utilities increases.
According to Deputy Mayor Darcy Bachman, this is a responsible operating budget in these economic times, reflecting council’s intent to be fiscally responsible and accountable to the residents.
Council unanimously adopted the 2017 Operating (Tax) Budget and Tax Rate Bylaw for the Town of Stettler as presented.

Natural gas supply contract
Council passed the motion to approve entering into a new natural gas supply contract with Access Gas at a base rate of $2.67/GJ for the five year period from 2018 to 2022.
According to CAO Greg Switenky, administration has been working with Energy Associations International (EAI) for the physical supply of natural gas to the Town of Stettler.
The town’s current agreement with Access Gas expires December 31, 2017.
The new pricing is expected to save the town of Stettler approximately $25,000 per year based on the old contract price of $3.75/GL.

Council supports Stettler football
At the May 16 council meeting, a delegation representing the Stettler Wildcats and the Stettler Minor Football organizations presented a request for support to get their facility up to a safe standard.
The football field has become a huge safety concern, with players suffering injuries including sprains, torn ligaments and broken bones.
Originally created for the 1991 Alberta Summer Games, the field has become very aged with ruts, holes and poor drainage and can no longer hold up to the amount of use it gets during the season.
“With four football teams having one game facility, it’s hard for us to keep that field to a standard that’s safe for our players,” stated Norbert Baharally, Wm. E Hay principal and Wildcats head coach.
The game field needs re-sodding and repairs to the underground sprinkler system at an estimated cost of $40,000.
Contributions toward this project of $10,000 from the Wildcats and $5000 from Minor Football still leaves them with a $25,000 shortfall.
The Wildcats have applied for a $25,000 Community Initiative Program (CIP) 150 Grant but have yet to hear the results.
Time is of the essence, as the work needs to begin straight away in order to have the field ready for the new football season.
“I for one, feel a responsibility to the community and the kids of the community to make sure they have a safe environment to play on,” stated Mayor Richardson during the deliberations.
Typically an answer is not be given immediately after a presentation, but council all agreed that the safety issue is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed immediately.
Council passed a motion to become the guarantor for the $25,000 so that the football organization can begin the necessary work.
Should the grant application be unsuccessful, council will readdress this issue at a later date.

Steel Wheel Stampede
A delegation representing the Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede Committee approached council requesting sponsorship for this year’s event.
Though they have the funds to run the rodeo as it is and have been self-sustaining for years, the committee is keen on growing the stampede into a whole community event with, as they put it, something going on in every corner of town.
With the midway company unexpectedly pulling out of the stampede, the committee has made it their mission to secure alternative entertainment options to assure the stampede’s success.
Council agreed that Stettler’s stampede is a worthwhile event that makes the community a better place, easily fitting into their community development mandate.
With funds already allocated in the budget for the Board of Trade and community development initiatives, council passed the motion to contribute $10,000 to the Steel Wheel Stampede.

Communities in Bloom tour
Communities in Bloom judges will be in Stettler from July 9 to 11 with community judging to take place on Mon., July 10.
The day’s activities will include the Mayor’s welcome in the council chambers, lunch at the Stettler Town and Country Museum and dinner at Stettler’s downtown park followed by the community awards.
This year’s judges will be Roger Younker, a retired broadcaster from P.E.I. and Mauro Franco Paradisi, a construction manager with the city of Avigliana, Turin, Italy.

Linda Stillinger,
ECA Review Reporter

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