(File photo)

(File photo)

Ponoka town council approves first reading of borrowing bylaw to purchase civic centre

Ponoka town Council approved first reading of a borrowing bylaw to begin the process to purchase the Ponoka Civic Centre during their regular meeting on July 12.

In 2017, the Town of Ponoka entered into a lease agreement for the Ponoka Civic Centre, located at 5604 50 St., with the intention of exercising the purchase option at a future date.

Town chief administrative officer Sandra Lund stated borrowing the funds is not expected to impact the town’s budget, property taxes or debt limit because the amount of the payments would be either the same or lower than the $700,000 per year the town already pays for its lease.

READ MORE: Ponoka provides clarity on resident’s Town Hall lease questions

“The annual costs of the Town’s lease payments of $700,000, which are already included in the Town budget and debt limit, are expected to cover the long-term borrowing costs to purchase the property,” said Lund in a press release.

The proposed Bylaw would authorize the Town to borrow up to $10 million. That amount does not represent the purchase price of the property but acts as a pre-approval limit similar to a mortgage.

The final purchase price would be based on the average of two independent appraisals representing fair market value of the property. The appraisals and final purchase price would not include tenant improvements to the building that have been completed by the town.

Municipal bylaws require three readings by town council in order to be approved. Before council considers second and third reading of the proposed borrowing bylaw, the town will advertise the bylaw for two weeks, along with its intention to purchase the Ponoka Civic Centre property.

As legislated by the Alberta Municipal Government Act (MGA), following the two weeks of advertising the proposed borrowing bylaw, there will be a 15-day period in which electors may submit a petition calling for a vote of electors to determine whether the proposed bylaw should be passed.

Unless a valid petition is received, which meets the requirements of Section 231 of the MGA, the bylaw can proceed to second and third reading.

Following third reading of the proposed Bylaw, Section 273 of the MGA requires a 30-day waiting period to allow for applications to the Court of Queen’s Bench to have the bylaw declared invalid.

If no applications are made to Court of Queen’s Bench during this period, the bylaw becomes valid and a loan application would be submitted to the Province of Alberta to purchase the Ponoka Civic Centre property.

If citizens have questions regarding the proposed borrowing bylaw or petition process, they can contact Town of Ponoka Legislative Services at 403-783-4431.

Town of Ponoka