Morinville Council Briefs

by Colin Smith

Morinville Town Council met on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Below are some highlights from that meeting.

Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation

Eileen’s Place, a facility to be opened by the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation in Morinville later this year, will be eligible for a municipal tax exemption.

That follows town council’s unanimous approval of an amended Non-Profit Organization Bylaw at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Unlike Jesse’s House, which the foundation currently operates, Eileen’s Place is not exempt from municipal taxes as a property where services are provided free of cost by a non-profit organization.

That is because clients are required to pay rent for the second-stage housing it will provide after its scheduled opening later this year.

The amended bylaw specifically provides a tax exemption for Eileen’s Place.

The facility is intended for former Jesse’s House clients who need extra time to manage housing, education and work issues.

“It’s not just providing services of great importance,” pointed out Councillor Ray White. “It’s also opening up beds at the original shelter.”

2023 Audit

Metrix Group LLP Chartered Accountants is Morinville’s auditor for the 2023 fiscal year.

Council confirmed the firm’s engagement to audit the town’s finances for last year through approval of an audit engagement letter and authorization of Mayor Simon Boersma to sign it.

The mayor will also respond to a standard question about knowledge of any actual, suspected or alleged fraud affecting the town. According to the Administration, the answer is none.

The town recently entered into a new audit services contract with Metrix Group. The contract is for a three-year term with two additional contact extensions available if Morinville so chooses.

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In accordance with the new contract, the audit fee has gone up by $3,300 to $33,000. The cost is accounted for in the 2023 budget.

Audit findings will be provided to council at its April 23 regular meeting.

Curling Club

The Provincial Masters Men’s and Women’s Curling Championship will be hosted by the Morinville Curling Club from February 27 to March 3.

Hosting the event symbolizes a reversal of fortune for the society over the past year, as outlined by past president and current director Gary Kearns in a presentation to council.

Kearns was updating council following a presentation in February 2023 in which he described the club as being in dire straits, with financial problems, dwindling membership and a volunteer shortage.

He said things have begun to turn around for the club through successful grant applications, including one with the town, and fundraising activities. The society may see a budget surplus this year following three years of deficits. Membership is also increasing.

Kearns thanked council its support, and particularly Councillors Maurice St. Denis and Ray White for their help with the successful Oktoberfest event at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. The club will be repeating the event this fall.

“Please continue to hurry hard to help us keep the Morinville Curling Club alive and thriving for decades to come,” Kearns concluded.

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