Utility rates increase for 2017 in interim budget

An interim operating budget for 2017 was adopted by Stettler Town Council at their Dec. 6 regular meeting with estimates for expenditures of $16,801,224 and revenues of $17,785,191.
The town’s 2017 Operating Budget will not be adopted until March or April of 2017.
Utility rates will increase with the water rate per cubic metre rising from $2.73 to $2.78, though the water fixed rate will remain at $10 per month.
Sewer rates will rise from $21.50 to $22, garbage rates from $22.50 to $23 and residential recycling fees from $6 to $6.25.
These increases will come into effect January 1, 2017.

Bad debts

Council approved the motion to write off $16,015.59 of bad debt, representing a mix of 23 rental and business utility accounts.
All bad debts have been given over to a collection agency.
Based on the Town of Stettler 2016 utility revenues of approximately $3,598,330 the utility write-offs represent 0.47 per cent of revenues, up from 0.31 per cent in 2015.

Bids accepted

The town received two bids in a second round of tenders for a winged power take off pull behind mower.
The original tender for a heavy duty mower received only one bid and was rejected by council because it was $13,900 over the budgeted amount.
The new tender changed the specification to medium duty and netted bids of $19,915 from Cervus Equipment Ltd. and $13,600 from Future Ag. Inc.
Though higher than the $10,000 originally budgeted, council accepted staff recommendations to purchase the mower from Future Ag. Equipment in the amount of $13,600. plus tax with funding to come from the 2016 capital budget.
Bids from Hi-way 12 Sales Inc. for $10,900 and Hitch to Headlights Inc. for $13,109 were received to provide a dump trailer with the lowest possible deck height.
Both bids came under the approved $15,000 budgeted amount.
After hearing staff recommendations, council approved the higher bid from Hitch to Headlights Inc. since that deck was 5.5 inches lower.

Library budget

Library Manager, Matthew Barabash and Andrew Brysiuk of the Stettler Public Library presented the 2017 library budget to council.
The town contribution of $231,333 for 2017 is slightly down from last year’s $232,961.  The library is jointly funded by the Town and County of Stettler.
Though council voiced their concerns regarding the reduction of user fees, it was explained how donations tend to rise when free programs are offered, offsetting the loss.
Council recognised that a library is certainly a place for more than just books and values all the Stettler Library contributes to the community.

Christmas Tree

The annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony was a great success.
“We were very fortunate with the weather.  There seemed to be more people than ever,” stated Mayor Dick Richards
According to Richards, there were people lined up from Party Max down to John’s Mens Wear with everyone shopping, visiting and enjoying this annual event.
Kelsey Roach donated this year’s Christmas tree and Heartland Industries provided the free use of their picker truck to move the tree.

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