By Stephen Dafoe
Council gives thumbs down to Northern Lights Library Services request*
Morinville Council gave six thumbs down to the idea of accepting a .22 per capita increase to the Northern Lights Library System (NLLS), which provides services to the Morinville Community Library and other libraries in Sturgeon County…
Council heard NLLS was requesting a .22 per capita increase to $4.77 for the municipality and the same increase for the municipality’s library board. If approved by two thirds of the member municipalities, Morinville’s levy fees will total $36,500.08, an increase of $1,756.28 over the previous year. Rejection of the increase by more than one third of NLLS member municipalities will result in the fees staying at 2012 levels of $4.55 per capita.
Councillor Lisa Holmes opposed the motion to approve the 5 per cent increase. “It was five per cent last year,” Holmes said. “It was five per cent for three years.”
Holmes, who sits on the NLLS Board, said she voted against the increase at the board level and was disappointed the only cuts proposed by NLLS were to the member libraries and the services to be provided and not NLSS’s own operations. “I felt it was not in the interests of the libraries to vote for it,” Holmes said. “It will pass, but it does send a message we are not happy with how things are happening.”
Councillor David Pattison asked if the Town could consider leaving NLLS and have the library join another library services provider. Holmes told Pattison and Council the Library Act does not permit Morinville or any library from leaving one system and joining another because of geographical boundaries. The only option would be to become a standalone library. Holmes said there has been some requests to have the province reconsider the boundaries when the Libraries Act is opened for review next year.
This is the second year Morinville Town Council has voted against the increase.
Public Works looking at long-term building needs
Council received a report from Public Works Jan. 8, outlining its medium- to long-term land and functional needs. The report was requested during the 2012 budget process as a preceding step necessary before Council would consider authorizing a salt shed to store the sand and salt used in the Town’s winter snow and ice operations.
The report includes an aerial map of the Public Works area, outlining existing and future requirements, including the salt shed, cold storage for Peace officer vehicles, ambulance, Town bus and future Public Works equipment. The map also lays out accommodations for a potential RCMP Detachment and Provincial Sheriff facility.
The Public Works diagram is dependent on the Town of Morinville acquiring the existing Alberta Transportation yard on 107 Street, adjacent the Public Works yard. That will not happen for a few years until provincial environmental contamination process is completed. The Town of Morinville has renewed a five-year lease with the province for $1 per year plus taxes and utilities, and has first right of refusal on the land when it becomes available.
Public Works feels a salt shed is needed soon and they plan to bring it forward as a budget item in the fall. They are currently using Carillion’s salt shed in the Morinville industrial park. Claude Valcourt, Morinville’s Director of Public Works, said it might be possible to extend the agreement beyond 2013 if Carillion renews their road maintenance contract with the province.
*In the interest of disclosure, the author of this article is the current chair of the Morinville Community Library Board.