Council brings back fourth meeting a month

·2 min read

The newly elected council held their first official meeting on Oct. 26 and approved changing the council meeting schedule to four times per month.

The 2021-2022 council meeting schedule provides regular meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of the month and committee of the whole meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. The changes also include no breaks during the summer months and the removal of the Dec. 28, 2021 council meeting.

Mayor Marcel Michaels suggested removing the Dec. 28 council meeting as administrative staff often plans vacation during this time.

Regarding the summer meetings, Council reasoned that business doesn’t stand still and to keep operations flowing smoothly it’s best if council continues meeting in those months.

“I feel one of the challenges that’s presented council during the last term and prior to that is the fact that there were only a few meetings happening throughout the summer,” said Coun. Albert Ostashek.

“I think it’s important that council still has the opportunity to meet, to be able to drive business forward, and to be able to make sure that the Town is able to move in a timely fashion, and not experience delays waiting for the next meeting.”

Coun. Trevor Haas noted that if the agenda is light there is an option to cancel meetings. The additional four meetings in the summer would cost the Town roughly $3,500, based on a three-hour meeting, explained Heather Waye, Hinton’s strategic services manager.

“The total calculation of 2022 is based on the meeting fees each [councillor] receives calculated on the number of meetings throughout the entire year, additional to that we’re looking at increasing the 2022 budget as council has gone over their budget dating back to 2016, with the exception of one year,” Waye said.

Despite council’s previous schedule only mandating three meetings per month, Waye said council continued scheduling additional meetings that caused council to go over their budget. As of October 2021 the budget allowance for meetings has exceeded by approximately $37,525 and is anticipated to put Council over budget by year end, stated administration.

“Essentially the increase that’s required to the 2022 budget is not solely based on the additional meetings you may have, it’s based on the trend that has been set in the past several years that consistently demonstrated that there is more money needed in your budget for the number of meetings that have been hosted,” said interim CAO Laura Howarth.

Going from three meetings per month to four meetings per month for the entire year will cost the town $10,500. That’s based on three-hour long meetings for all seven members of council.

Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice

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