Town council highlights from the Feb. 10th meeting

Auditors will be going over the Town of Castor accounting records over a two-week period

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

Council participation in Paintearth Choosewell’s 2020 participACTION Community Better Challenge, Sub-Division Appeal Board training, and more was discussed during the Feb. 10th Castor Town council meeting.

The Paintearth Choosewell Committee, a new regional committee focused on creating a healthy region, is a partnership between the Castor and Coronation Choosewell committees.

The two groups decided to merge permanently after the success of last spring’s participACTION Community Better Challenge, which had the two communities compete both nationally and provincially for the title of most active community.

Between the two communities, Castor/Coronation placed first in Alberta and number 12 overall.

“We found we were duplicating a lot of services, so we came together,” said Committee Member Mandy Fuller.

Paintearth Choosewell is looking to build on that success during the 2020 challenge, which is set to take place between June 1st and 21st.

To accomplish that goal the committees have asked that the Town of Castor staff and council “promote, support, and actively participate” in the 2020 Community Better Challenge.

In a motion put forward by Coun. Kevin McDougall, council voted in favour of supporting the request.

SDAB Training

Council has elected to send Castor Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Robblee for sub-division appeal board clerk training, a legislative requirement under the Municipal Government Act for all communities who have such a board.

Legislation also requires that the board members, whom are Castor Mayor Richard Elhard and Coun. Rod Zinger are also required to undergo board training if the board continues in Castor.

Under the Municipal Government Act, a sub-division appeal board is a legislative requirement.

However, with Castor being a member of the Hanna-based Palliser Municipal Services and Palliser discussing the possibility of creating an intermunicipal sub-division appeal board for all its member municipalities, there is a possibility that the Castor board may be removed from the community organizational chart.

“I think the clerk (training) is a very good idea regardless of what Palliser does,” said Coun. Lonny Nelner, before making the motion to send Robblee for training.

As an addition to the motion, the two board members will not be required to attend the training until it is discussed with Palliser whether or not they will provide the service.

The training for both board members and clerks is valid for three years.

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA)

Council was notified during the Feb. 10th meeting that the Spring Leaders Caucus of the AUMA will take place March 25th and 26th in Edmonton.

The AUMA meetings take place twice a year and are an opportunity for municipal leaders from across the province to make connections elsewhere in the province.

“There is opportunity to do some after-hours meetings,” said CAO Robblee, before adding, “The fall one is always better. You can choose not to attend, to send just councillors, or you could send councillors and the CAO.”

In a motion presented by Coun. Zinger, it was decided that Coun. Nelner and the CAO would attend the meetings.

Other highlights of the Feb. 10th meeting:

• Auditors will be going over the Town of Castor accounting records over a two-week period.

• Records prior to the audit show that the Town generated a potential $150,000 surplus in 2019. Administration is recommending $97,000 be placed into restricted surplus and that council consider where to place the remainder, once verified by the audit. CAO Robblee to bring back further recommendations at the next council meeting.

• Council has moved to appoint new Town employee Matthew Cox as a bylaw officer.

• Due to changes in insurance regulations, council has directed CAO Robblee to confer with other municipal partners to see how they are handling the challenges of hosting parades in their communities. Robblee is to come back to council with options prior to the organization of the 2020 parade in Castor.

• Castor has signed the new ratified fire agreement along with all the other municipal partners.

• CAO Robblee continues working on bringing the town into compliance with the MGA as per the results of the Municipal Accountability Report that was conducted by Municipal Affairs last spring.

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