By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
The following are selected briefs from the regular Jan. 5 Stirling village council meeting.
Council Delegation – Maurice Duncan
Duncan, a member of the village’s Cemetery Society, appeared before council and provided them with an update on the society’s activities. The society would like to see continued beautification of the site and had indicated a desire for updates to the village’s cemetery bylaw. Stirling Mayor Trevor Lewington said that council had asked for recommendations on potential changes to the bylaw, noting that the current bylaw dates back to 2009, and is overdue for a review. Council had also discussed potential beautification options with Duncan, including some potential long-term plans to add a gazebo, columbarium and other amenities to the space.
Council Meeting with Minister of Municipal Affairs the Honourable Ric McIver
Stirling village council had met with with McIver in a virtual meeting on Thursday, Dec. 16, where they discussed issues such as funding, their Forthcoming application under the Alberta Municipal Water/Waste Water Partnership, completed land acquisition for a new senior’s housing facility and police funding model requisition concerns.
“Ongoing dialogue with the top policy makers is important to ensure perspectives of smaller, rural communities are made known when decisions are being made,” said Lewington. “Larger cities have the resources to provide ongoing feedback, advocacy on matters of concern to them – smaller communities need to ensure their voice is also heard.”
While municipalities typically meet with the MA Minister during the annual Alberta Municipalities — formerly know as the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association — conference, representatives from the village were unable to attend in person this year, so the minister’s office had set up the virtual meeting to follow up.
Council felt the meeting went well, and the minister’s staff answered questions on what can be communicated with tax notices.
Policy OP01-22 Snow Removal Policy
Council approved a new policy regarding snow removal in the village.
The village often receives questions on why some roads are cleared before others, and a balance is needed between cost of snow removal and keeping streets safe and accessible, or when there is enough snow to justify clearing it. This policy sets the village’s existing practice in writing to clarify to both the public and public works staff on how the program works.
Policy HR02-21 Payroll and Benefits Policy
Council approved a new Payroll and Benefits Policy.
The policy covers the village’s payroll procedures, compensation guidelines and benefits administration. Several updates were required for two previously existing policies, and this policy is an update to both that have been combined into one policy.
Ridge Utilities Shareholder Resolution
Council approved a Ridge Utilities shareholder resolution with some amendments.The village is the sole shareholder of of Ridge Utilities Ltd., and has to nominate and approve members of the board.
“The resolution approves the actions undertaken by the Board of Directors of Ridge Utilities over the last year and sets our the nominees for the Board at their next Annual General Meeting,” said Lewington. “We discussed a number of candidates for nominees and ultimately made some changes to the appointments and increased the size of the Board by one position.”
Provincial Education Requisition Credit Program
Council reviewed a piece of correspondence on the Provincial Education Requisition Credit Program and accepted it as information.
“The Province is providing municipalities with additional ways to ensure collection of taxes on linear property. There have been some challenges collecting taxes from oil and gas companies in particular that are delinquent paying on wells and pipelines,” said Lewington.
While the change would not directly effect the village, Lewington noted it would allow for the neighbouring County of Warner to better collect on any outstanding linear taxes they may have.