Whether the Town of Ponoka gets enough ‘bang for its buck’ under its Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) membership was discussed during town council March 26.
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Ponoka town council debates remuneration policy

Item was tabled until 2022

Ponoka town council discussed the remuneration policy for council, board and committee positions during their regular meeting on Oct. 12, but ultimately tabled the item to early next year.

The amended policy is looking to restore council’s remuneration back to the level it was at before they voted to decrease their base rate pay by 1.5 per cent in December, 2019.

READ MORE: Town passes $25.4 million interim budget with tentative 2.7 per cent tax rate increase

Town council has also forgone an annual cost of living adjustment for a number of years.

Administration stated that council has been “more than prudent” but they believed it was time for an increase.

The purpose of the adjustment is to align council remuneration more comparably with neighbouring municipalities.

The proposed increase was five per cent, which accounted for both the previously approved decrease, and the foregone cost of living adjustments.

A council remuneration comparison included in the agenda package shows Ponoka’s mayor and councillors receive significantly less compensation compared to the other municipalities listed.

While Bonnett emphasized any increase will not affect him at all as the retiring mayor, he stated he’d been advocating for better compensation for Ponoka town councillors for years.

Coun. Nelson asked if there was any reason an external committee wasn’t used to determine if an increase was needed.

“I like the idea of a third party doing it,” said Nelson, adding it’s awkward to vote to give themselves a raise.

Administration noted that approving this increase now would allow for a more in-depth analysis to be completed in the next term.

Coun. Carla Prediger made the motion to table the remuneration policy until the second council meeting in January.

2022 interim budget

Following budget deliberations in Sept., council approved the 2022 interim budget.

“I’ve always, in my 11 years, asked for a budget in the new year,” Bonnett said during the meeting.

The total amount of the 2022 Interim Budget is $25,898,470, which includes an interim operating budget of $19,408,070 and an interim capital budget of $6,490,400.

The final 2022 Capital and Operating Budgets will be deliberated and approved by the new incoming Town Council in early 2022.

2022 capital projects planned for 2022 in the interim capital budget include 51 Ave. redevelopment between 50 and 51 St, enhancement of the 49 St. parking lot and trail connection, Aquaplex improvements, arena upgrades, tennis court resurfacing, a new dog park design project, an expanded multi-use skateboard park and RCMP building upgrades.

CAO Sandra Lund stated in a press release that a new sportsplex continues to be a priority in the town’s Strategic Plan.

For the full release, see ponoka.ca.

Coun. Clayton Nelson moved to approve the 2022 interim budget and the motion carried.

2021 capital projects carryforward

Coun. Prediger made the motion to approve the amended 2021 capital projects carryforward in the amount of $2,018,900. The motion carried.

ATCO franchise fee

Council voted to approve retaining the ATCO franchise fee rate at 23 per cent for 2022.