County Council briefs

By Staff

Sturgeon County – County Council held a brief but productive meeting Tuesday morning, dealing with a number of items on the agenda.

Scholarship changes
Council unanimously approved a recommendation to make some changes to the Dale McMillan Memorial Scholarship process. Those changes included a recommendation to accept a maximum of two personal references and to make previous recipients of the award ineligible to apply again.

The changes had previously been discussed and agreed upon during the Jan. 17 meeting of the Calahoo-Villeneuve Gravel Extraction Committee.

The Dale McMillan Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to Sturgeon County residents enrolled in a recognized post secondary school institution.

The annual scholarship publicly recognizes the contributions and dedication of the late Dale MacMillan who was instrumental in helping achieve a balance between residents and gravel extraction operations in the Calahoo and Villeneuve area.

County to look at minimum tax on properties
Councillor Tom Flynn put forth a motion to have County administration review and analyze the minimum charges of property tax amounts.

The matter came to Flynn’s attention during a Municipal Planning Commission meeting where it was discovered some County properties are levied an annual property tax of $10 or less.

Administration indicated at the Feb. 8 meeting there are 540 properties in Sturgeon County currently being charged less than $10 per annum in taxes. It is estimated it costs the County approximately $35 per property for assessment and billing.

Councillor Flynn advocated that a minimum $50 tax amount be created to at least cover expenses. Mayor Rigney was opposed to the idea, preferring to take the matter slower and await administration’s report. The mayor felt the increase to $50 would represent a large increase to some property owners.

Councillors McGillis and McGeachy were in agreement with the mayor’s position that council should wait on administrations information. However, Councillor Karen Shaw disagreed.

“We have to look less to the percentage and to what’s fair,” she said. “If you’re paying $10 in taxes that doesn’t even pay the grader to go by your place.”

Flynn subsequently withdrew his motion on a $50 minimum and council voted unanimously to have administration look into the matter further.

County to look into library funding
Council voted unanimously to have administration review and evaluate current funding to libraries as part of its regional Master Planning activity and to return to council with recommendations through the 2012 budgetary process. The motion was put forth by Councillor Karen Shaw.

Council had received delegations from the Morinville and Redwater Public Libraries at its last regular meeting, learning there was a difference in per capita funding between Morinville and Sturgeon County with respect to its funding of the Morinville Public Library.

“If we’re not paying our fair share, we need to be doing so,” Councillor Shaw said Tuesday morning. “We need to step up to the plate.”

The councillor said it was her hope that the County might be able to do something to help further fund the libraries during the 2011 budget year.

That decision will ultimately be made after council receives its report back from administration.

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