Crowsnest Pass council holds its public council meetings three times a month — twice in the evening and once in the early afternoon.

At the July 11 council meeting — coincidently held at the early 1 p.m. time — council considered moving its meeting schedule to simply three evening meetings.

Bylaw 1155 proposed to amend the procedure bylaw to have all regular council meetings start at 7 p.m. The amendment was proposed to accommodate Coun. Vicki Kubik’s work schedule, which often conflicts with the 1 p.m. meeting.

Mayor Blair Painter said the 1 p.m. time was originally used for a governance meeting that only allowed for discussion of topics and not voting; although it made for faster decision making processes at the next regular council meeting, it almost appeared council was making decisions without proper deliberation.

“It left the impression that our decisions were predetermined, and we don’t want to do that, so we made changes to make it a council meeting where we could make decisions,” Painter recalled.

“I think it’s worked quite well. It leaves the opportunity for residents to attend an afternoon when perhaps they couldn’t fit in an evening meaning. I think it fits the bill.”

“Personally I like the two evening, one afternoon,” agreed Coun. Glen Girhiny. “It gives the people a chance on shift work to come before council.”

Having only the evening meetings, added Coun. Doreen Glavin, was more taxing for administration and those travelling as part of a delegation.

“For administration, it puts them another evening out. And for delegations through the wintertime, that’s a big one for me — people can attend during the afternoon and they’re not travelling at night when the roads are bad,” she said.

Coun. Kubik had no problems with keeping the schedule as is after hearing her fellow council members’ thoughts.

“I absolutely agree with everyone’s comments. It was really just to facilitate my work schedule,” she said. “I don’t have any problems with keeping it as it is, and we’ll live with it as it is.”

Bylaw 1155 was defeated at first reading, and the council schedule will remain the same.

Budget 2024

Administration has officially begun the process of establishing the municipal budget for 2024 and requested council approve the proposed budget schedule and guidelines that would act as a basis for making budgetary decisions.

Five special budget meetings were approved for Aug. 17, Sept. 18, Oct. 12, Nov. 30, and Dec. 7. First reading of the tax rate bylaw and the fees, rates and charges bylaw is scheduled to take place in March of 2024.

With the Consumer Price Index being unstable the past two years, administration recommended establishing a budget according to a 2.5 per cent increase to account for inflation. However, considering the economic uncertainty, Mayor Painter suggested a larger figure was needed.

“Raise it up, if it [inflation] comes in lower, awesome — I’d just hate to have to come up with extra funding,” he said. “Something to consider.”

Council members agreed and directed administration to use a three per cent baseline in setting next year’s budget.

The municipality’s contribution to reserves remains at the same one per cent increase per year, which means 2024 will see five per cent transferred to reserves, six per cent in 2025, and seven per cent in 2026.

Budget 2024 will be formed with transfers to the utility reserve increasing 2.5 per cent each year, starting at 17.5 per cent for 2024, reaching 20 per cent for 2025 and 22.5 per cent for 2026.

Some recommended budgetary focuses for council deferred from 2023’s budget include the multi-use facility, a walking path between Bellevue and Frank, master plans for transportation and municipal facilities, and the demolition of the old fire training centre.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 15, 7 p.m. in council chambers.

By Laurie Tritschler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 26, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Shootin' the Breeze   Pincher Creek, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated