Airport requests money and membership

Ponoka County council has been requested to renew its membership in Ponoka’s Airport Commission

Ponoka County council has been requested to renew its membership in Ponoka’s Airport Commission and resume returning tax revenue generated by the hangers, which is approximately $7,000.

The county used to return the revenue to the airport but stopped more than one year ago.

“My opinion is we should keep the taxes and the membership is something we don’t need,” said Coun. Gawney Hinkley.

Hinkley doesn’t feel any changes have been made at the airport and the county doesn’t need to involve themselves. “Nothing has changed except the trees are gone and the wind blows strong.”

Council decided to hold off on a membership and returning the tax money decision until the airport commission steps forward to present more information on changes made at the airport.

Master drainage plan

Based on newfound interest, Ponoka County councillors have decided to partake in the Wolf Creek Drainage Basin master drainage plan.

Council initially was uninterested because there was no section in the plan guaranteeing the channel running thought the county would be properly cleaned.

However, a section was added to the plan, prompting council’s participation.

The total cost of the two-year project is $235,000.

In cost-sharing efforts, council will pay 10 per cent of that amount.

Without their participation Ponoka County CAO Charlie Cutforth said it would be a challenge for the county to have the channel cleaned another way. “If we don’t contribute chances of us getting support from Alberta Environment and Fisheries and Oceans is nil.”

The channel running through the county needs to be cleaned because in the past water has backed up into the golf course and residential areas.

Community hall premiums

County council will now pay the interest premiums of the 14 community halls within the county.

In the past the county paid the premiums but later billed the halls.

This new procedure will cost the county between $24,000 and $25,000.

“Typically, other than gravel or the odd bit of snowplowing, all of those community halls operate on their own,” said Cutforth. He added county donations to the halls has been minimal.

“What happened to, because of the budget came down, they were all using community spirit grants . . . they’re all gone,” said Coun Paul McLauchlin.

Without the government grants some halls are struggling to pay insurance and utility costs, which have increased.

Without the premium support some of the halls and organizations stand to dissolve, and those who were receiving provincial government support become the county’s responsibility.

Cutforth feels paying the insurance premiums to help the halls and organizations stay active is more mutually beneficial in the long run.

Ferrybank Cemetery

At the request of Ferrybank Cemetery, county councillors agreed to pay half the cost of a new lawnmower for the grounds.

The county’s contribution is $2,750 and the total cost of the ride-on mower is $5,475.

The man who used to cut the grass with his own machine no longer lives in the community.

Council recognized if the cemetery is going to be kept in as good of shape as it currently is a lawnmower is a necessity.

Miss Teen Ponoka County contribution

Ponoka’s pageant star, Ann-Marie Rogers Cooper, is attending the Miss Teen World competition in Toronto this summer and the county is donating $1,000 to support her.

Cutforth recommended the amount to keep a balance with local wrestler Kelsey Raab.