Council briefs

By Stephen Dafoe

Disclosure bylaw rescinded

A Morinville bylaw that required Councillors to declare their campaign contributions has been unanimously rescinded because provincial legislation now requires the same thing. Council voted unanimously to rescind the Town’s Disclosure Bylaw June 25.

That 2002 bylaw allowed the public to review Council’s campaign contributions and expenses; however, the Alberta Local Authorities Election Act now includes a section (5.1) dealing with Municipal Election Finance and Contribution Disclosure.

Under the act, individual contributions are limited to $5,000 within a given campaign period. The provincial legislation also defines what organizations cannot make donations.

Town helps out with Canada Day fireworks

The pops, whistles and flashes of colour overhead on Canada Day will be partly covered by the Town of Morinville. Council unanimously approved a $1,190 request from the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society, organizers and hosts of the annual Canada Day in the Park celebrations, to cover the cost of fireworks. Now in its third year of operation, July 1 will mark the first time fireworks have been part of the event.

In his letter of request, organizer Murray Knight said residents have been asking that fireworks be part of the annual event. Knight said the Morinville Fire Department and Bernie Houle have donated their time and skills to help keep the costs down, and that the society has sought and secured business support to cover the hard costs. The $1,190 funding request was to cover the shortfall.

Knight said he had declined a previous Council offer to receive a perpetual grant and preferred to use other funding sources first before coming to the taxpayer for funding.

Councillor Fingler excused himself from the vote as he does business with the Historical and Cultural Society.

Cultural Centre looks for wiggle room

Cultural Centre rates and fees were on the table at the June 25 meeting, particularly the desire to have some wiggle room for those rates on a case-by-case basis.

Approved in February after being sent back to the drawing board a couple times, management of the centre is hearing the rates are competitive affordable for most seeking rental accommodations at the facility. An all in package, introduced with the new fee structure, has proven most popular among the offerings, resulting in a dozen bookings to date.

Management came to Council June 25 looking for some flexibility on pricing to increase bookings. Kerry Dawson, Morinville’s Director of Community Services, cited five examples in her report where client needs could not be met because the rigidity of the new pricing structure made the facility too expensive.

In one example, a four-hour rental for a corporate breakfast because the two options were an all-in rental including the kitchen required a 12-hour commitment or a $219 an hour rental plus another $375 for the use of the kitchen. The cheaper of the two options came in at $1,251 for a four-hour rental. Dawson advocated with Council to have the flexibility to offer the use of the Main Hall and kitchen at a rate of $900 for four hours, a sum that she believes would have secured the booking instead of leaving it unrented.

Councillor Nicole Boutestein opposed passing the motion to give the cultural centre management authority because she felt there were too many questions to deal with after 11:30 at night, the point at which the matter hit the agenda. “We’re almost seven months into the year,” she said. “I wish this had come to us in April.”

A motion to defer the matter was defeated 5-1, and a subsequent motion to give management the authority to alter pricing over the summer was passed unanimously. An interim report will be brought back to Council Sept. 10.

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