The Village of Big Valley council decided they will wait until after the upcoming municipal election to discuss boosting their regular meetings to two a month. The decision was made at the Aug. 26 regular meeting of council.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Tracy Mindus brought forward the item which had been discussed previously by council. She stated the proposal was to increase the number of regular council meetings to two a month; Big Valley currently has one regular council meeting per month, every fourth Thursday at 1 p.m.
The proposal was to add another meeting on the second Thursday.
It was noted in the report that another council meeting per month would also require authorization for councillors to be paid for that meeting.
Mayor Clark German asked if the extra meeting could be scheduled in the evening so those residents who work during the day could attend if they wish.
Coun. Harry Nibourg responded that the reason the village has meetings at 1 p.m. currently is to save on staff working after hours.
German responded the CAO is salaried, so it would have no effect on the taxpayers. Mindus added she didn’t have a problem with evening meetings.
Coun. Art Tizzard, looking at the $3,000 more in remuneration to be paid to councillors for 12 more meetings a year, felt the council should stick with one meeting and call special council meetings if needed. Nibourg agreed.
German pointed out that if all the special meetings councillors attend were added up it would probably fit into one regular council meeting per month.
Nibourg responded that many special meetings were back to back to discuss a specific issue.
Mayor German stated he felt an extra council meeting would allow councillors to talk about issues he felt hadn’t received enough attention, such as economic development.
Mindus pointed out special meetings cause issues for staff as there’s less preparation time compared to a regular meeting and special meetings can be called with 24 hours notice, which doesn’t always give taxpayers a chance to attend.
Nibourg suggested tabling this topic and letting the new council decide on it after the election.
Tizzard stated he wasn’t planning on running for re-election so this decision wouldn’t affect him anyway.
Councillors agreed to table the topic of a second council meeting per month.
Mindus reported to councillors the community has shown interest in forming a recreation committee. Councillors previously instructed the CAO to gauge interest in Big Valley, and she stated four community members have come forward.
The CAO presented a few options, such as forming a society or having the committee under the village umbrella.
Councillors decided to move first reading of the bylaw to form the committee, then instructed Mindus to meet with the community members to develop terms of reference. She stated she would try to meet with them in the evening within two weeks.
The CAO reminded councillors nomination day for the municipal election is Sept. 20, and added that she recently acquired new ballot boxes from the City of Calgary “super cheap.”
Mindus reported Skyla Attfield has been hired as the new village administrative assistant.
She added that she did the admin assistant job for about a month in addition to her own job. Also, the CAO stated she’s been working remotely Mondays and Fridays and in the office. However, as of Sept. 1 she will be working only remotely until nomination day.
Mindus reported many cat tags have gone out to the public after councillors added cats to the animal control bylaw. More tags are needed as the village is running low. There are plenty of dog tags on hand, however.
Mayor German noted councillors may have more decisions to make about cats, such as enforcement and kennels, and Mindus noted she’s been calling around to gather some information.
Councillors accepted the CAO’s report for information.
The village won’t inquire about the caretaker position currently available for County of Stettler Housing Authority's buildings in Big Valley.
Mindus presented councillors with a notice the authority sent out for a caretaker position in Big Valley.
Mindus noted she was trying to contact the person responsible for the advertisement at the housing authority but had no luck. Councillors discussed the nature of the caretaker position, such as early morning call-outs and liability and decided they were not interested.
Councillors approved changes to the village office hours. The village office will be open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed from noon to 12:30 for lunch. The office remains closed Fridays.
Nibourg stated there’s demand for the office to be open more often.
Councillors approved a change to the wording of the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) after it had been publicly advertised.
Mindus stated a section of the bylaw pertaining to fees and charges had to be re-worded, and the revised bylaw already passed first reading as well.
The changes included removing a sentence stating certain development matters are set by resolution of council, and replaced with a reference to the fees and charges bylaw.
Councillors passed second and third reading of the revised bylaw.
Coun. Nibourg asked that an item be added to the closed session of the agenda. It was stated the topic was lifting of council sanctions on him. Councillors approved it, and it was the only closed session item listed on the agenda.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review