Stettler town council approved a four per cent property tax increase along with their 2023 operating budget at the May 16 regular meeting of council.
Councillors read an extremely detailed report on the town’s 2023 operating budget provided by Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Greg Switenky, which noted almost immediately that a four per cent property tax increase was proposed for both residential and non-residential classes. Switenky’s report further noted the operating budget totalled $22,174,359.
Switenky stated that councillor’s deliberations, which included 11 different budget options, on the operating budget and tax increase were balanced by setting responsible tax rates and also ensuring the municipality’s needs are met. He further noted the operating budget appears very similar to the interim budget that councillors approved last fall.
The CAO also pointed out property owners will see other requisitions and provincial government taxes on their tax bill which the Town of Stettler is obligated to collect but which has no control over.
Mayor Sean Nolls noted that Coun. Kyle Baker was absent from the meeting but sent on a message to his peers that he accepted the need for the four per cent tax increase but would have preferred three per cent.
Mayor Nolls noted the Town of Stettler had zero per cent tax increases for three years and has faced considerable inflation over that time, so the writing was on the wall.
“The four per cent is responsible,” said Nolls.
Councillors unanimously approved the 2023 operating budget as it was presented.
A few moments later councillors passed all readings necessary to bring into effect the 2023 property tax bylaw.
Councillors unanimously approved all readings necessary for two separate CAO bylaws, the second of which revealed who Switenky’s successor will be: Director of Planning and Development LeAnn Graham.
Switenky introduced the two bylaws by noting the CAO bylaw hasn’t been tweaked in about 30 years, adding that he plans to retire in August
The second bylaw appointed Graham as the Town of Stettler’s new CAO. Councillors congratulated Graham, whose new appointment takes effect Aug. 30.
Switenky stated he felt Graham was poised to do a stellar job as CAO. Mayor Nolls agreed, adding that Graham’s strong history in the development world will help Stettler prosper.
Director of Operations Melissa Robbins presented councillors with the results of a tender for a brand new pick-up truck for the Parks department.
“(Last year’s) capital budget included $120,000 to purchase two fleet trucks, and 2023 capital budget includes $120,000 for two half-ton trucks,” stated Robbins’ report to council. “Council previously awarded three of the four trucks with a remaining budget of $52,083.75 and directed administration to tender the fourth truck for future consideration.”
Robbins noted a new tender for a half-ton, 2023 crew cab 4X4 pick-up truck was sent to all three Stettler auto dealerships, with Stettler Dodge responding ($53,210) and Aspen Ford ($56,825). Robbins stated the third dealer, Gary Moe Chev, declined to offer a vehicle as they are struggling with inventory.
Councillors unanimously approved awarding the truck tender to Stettler Dodge in the amount of $53,210, excluding tax, with funding provided through the 2023 capital budget.
Welcome to Stettler
Councillors unanimously approved an offer for new “Stettler entrance signs” to WTS Manufacturing for a price of $64,000 after Graham presented the results of a tender.
“In 2011, the Town of Stettler commissioned new entrance signs to be supplied and installed with landscaping and masonry work completed by town staff,” stated Graham in her report to council.
“These entrance signs are still current, however, the weathering over the past decade has left the signs in a deteriorated state.”
She noted the town released an invitation for renovating the signs; however, while nine businesses responded to the invitation, many didn’t meet the tender specifications because they excluded a powder coat.
It was noted WTS Manufacturing is a local Stettler business and councillors were pleased to approve their offer.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter