Residents allowed opportunity to speak with town council

Town residents will now have the opportunity to speak up during a regular town council meeting.

Town residents will now have the opportunity to speak up during a regular town council meeting.

A new bylaw was passed Feb. 11 allowing people the opportunity to speak with town councillors for a two-minute period. The decision was part of the town’s Council Procedures Bylaw, which allows up to three groups to give their concerns or suggestions.

Also the mayor can give control of the meeting to the deputy mayor to give councillors experience in running a council meeting.

Credit card limit increase

Councillors approved the increase of three MasterCard credit card limits with Servus Credit Union to $30,000 from $10,000, with a collective total of $90,000.

Mayor Rick Bonnett, the director of corporate services and the CAO each have a credit card for purchases and there have been times where $10,000 has been insufficient when councillors attend conferences, explained Sandra Lund, acting director of corporate services.

Bonnett said councillors were at a recent Alberta Urban Municipalities Association conference when his credit card was declined.

Acting CAO Betty Quinlan said the credit card usage is strictly audited, which provides some security to the town. “There’s always a double check and they’re scrutinized and the auditor actually looks at every receipt.”

Coun. Sandra Lyon asked how often issues with the cards being maxed out happen. Bonnett said there have been issues when councillors go to municipal conferences and Sarah Olson, economic development officer said when the town needs to make purchases for computer equipment or other items that are not billed, the credit cards need to be used, but there have been times the cards were close to being full.

“It’s just when things culminate,” said Olson.

The town’s auditor, Rowland, Parker and Associates, has recommended a credit card policy be created, which Quinlan said administration is working on.

Year-end audit extension

Administration is applying to Municipal Affairs for an extension on the town’s year-end audit.

Lund presented the request to councillors stating that recent changes in administration and changes in staffing and municipal software conversion has caused a challenge to get the audit done in time. The year-end audit submission was intended for May 1.

“We’re wishing to extend it to Sept. 1,” said Lund.

Council approved the request.

Public hearing set for land-use bylaw

A public hearing is set for March 11 at Town Hall to rezone a property located at 3915 46 A Street Close to high-density residential district from low-density multi-family residential.

The request came from David Clark, whose goal is to develop a vacant space within the existing building. Clark had applied to council in 2008 but was unsuccessful. The development authority of the day required the entire block be rezoned, explained Quinlan.

Betty Jurykoski, planning and development officer for the Town of Ponoka, feels the new application is reasonable for the area.

“His zoning, currently, is the only thing prohibiting him from developing that final suite,” she said.

Off-street parking can be made available as there is already a two-car garage on the property and room for four spots, explained Clark. Jurykoski feels the proposal is consistent with the neighbourhood.

Clark said he plans on attending to the public hearing to answer any questions.

Five-year contract approved for assessment firm

Councillors approved the renewal of a five-year-contract with Wild Rose Assessment Services.

The company’s rates are for assessment, re-evaluations, interpretation and implementation of new legislation, re-inspections and a variety of other assessment services is $77,000 per year, approximately $22 per parcel based on 3,500 parcels. The fee stays the same for 2015 and increases to $22.50 per parcel in 2016, $23 per parcel in 2017 and $23.50 per parcel in 2018.

Lund said the town has been using the company’s services for some years and usually signs a five-year-contract. “They currently provide services to 38 other municipalities.”

Increase of staff at arena

Amendt said the town now has eight staff, including himself, who have all been trained in operating the Zamboni at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex. He has also hired more part time and temporary staff to keep operations running smoothly at the arena.