Stettler town council plans to do some serious work around the community after it approved a $5 million capital budget for 2024. The approval was made at the Feb. 6 regular meeting of council.

Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Leann Graham presented councillors with the proposed 2024 capital budget, along with four consecutive capital budgets for years 2025 to 2028, a requirement of the Municipal Government Act (MGA).

Graham noted the capital budget was developed by staff and councillors over several specialized sessions, with Mayor Sean Nolls adding the capital budget was discussed for many hours before appearing at the current meeting.

A breakdown of department projects was provided at the beginning of the report, and one of those parts which affects the general public the most is transportation. 

Listed under transportation is $1,563,000 for work on Spruce Drive from Hwy. 56 to 61 Street. The project will include roadway reconstruction, water utility, sewer and stormwater infrastructure replacement. 

A $145,000 project was also described as parking lot renovation for the local health unit. Other projects include pathway work and the Okoppe Way walkway on Main Street.

Listed under the water and sewer department is a $350,000 project to replace a water main on 47 Ave. from 46 to 48 Street.

The budget summary delved into great detail about provincial and federal grants which will pay for these two expensive parts of the capital budget. 

“What this effectively accomplishes is that the town will utilize federal and provincial grants such as Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF) and Canada Community Building Fund funding for most large transportation and utility projects and use freed-up utility surpluses (available for capital through the interim budget) to fund projects and savings for non-utility purposes,” stated the budget summary.

Under the fire department heading it was noted the regional fire manager’s truck will be replaced for $130,000 (split between county and town) and $100,000 will be set aside for a 2001 fire engine replacement in two years; it was further stated under the department summary spreadsheet that fire station renovation drawings are budgeted at $15,000 and storage for the training facility is budgeted at $85,000.

The town may be looking to replace some vital vehicles as the capital budget has set aside $300,000 for a tandem truck, $145,000 for a pair of three quarter ton pick-ups and $35,000 for a skid steer.

The 2024 capital budget was unanimously approved by councillors.

Housing assessment

Development Officer Angela Stormoen presented councillors with an item that was included in the capital budget they just approved, a request for proposals for a housing assessment and strategy.

“In 2019 the Town of Stettler partnered with the County of Stettler Housing Authority to fund a housing assessment which has been successful in creating opportunities for developers to fill the gap that the study provided,” stated the agenda memo.

“As a result of the new developments and the changes to the economy, the economic development committee proposed an update to the current housing assessment. Furthermore, the committee requested a housing strategy be developed to help create and maintain an affordable, safe and suitable supply of housing.”

Stormoen stated the town received four offers, including Urbanics Consultants ($49,955), Gordon & Associates ($49,525), Housing Strategies Inc. ($46,625) and BASSA Social Innovations ($42,500). 

She explained the town used an evaluation process which revealed BASSA met all the project requirements. She noted staff recommended awarding the housing assessment and study to BASSA for the listed amount.

Coun. Gord Lawlor asked if the first study’s authors sent in an offer and Stormoen answered no.

Mayor Nolls noted rental strategy will be key to this project as the Town of Settler hasn’t seen any new rental units since 2008. 

Councillors unanimously approved the staff recommendation.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 15, 2024 at 09:37

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, 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