Village of Morrin shows resiliency through challenging 2021

·2 min read

Business as usual has resumed in the Village of Morrin following challenging times that began in 2020. Despite these challenges, the village had a resilient year with a zero per cent increase on municipal taxes, and progress was made in the development of a new school.

For nearly a year the village had no council and was overseen by Official Administrator Harold Johnsrude; he was appointed by Municipal Affairs following the dissolution of the former council in December 2020.

In February, the village declined a consideration to purchase the Blooming Prairies seniors four-plex, and instead elected for the complex to continue being managed by the Drumheller Seniors Housing Foundation (DSHF). The reasoning stemmed from concerns the complex would lose out on provincial funding if it was purchased by the village, and Mr. Johnsrude wanted to keep a low-cost housing option for area seniors; Mr. Johnsrude did request DSHF inform the village of any future decisions regarding the facility.

During budget deliberations in April, it was discovered village utilities were underfunded, and the village increased utility fees by 10 per cent, which came into effect in July. Despite these shortfalls, $5,000 was allocated as a one-time grant to the arena and $24,302 to offset unpaid taxes from the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) funds from the provincial government, and the municipal tax rate from 2020 was maintained.

Progress on the new Morrin School continued following the appointment of a prime consultant in October 2020; by May about 40 per cent of the overall design was complete with the consultant wrapping up the detailed design stage. In December the Mail was informed Prairie Land School Division will be securing a general contractor for the project in early 2022.

The Friends of Morrin School Council has raised $632,304.60 to support bleacher space, a library expansion, and additional educational space in the new school.

Following the October municipal elections, a three-person council was set to take over operations from Mr. Johnsrude. Prior to their swearing-in, two of the three councillors-elect handed in their resignations. The remaining councillor, M’Liss Edwards was sworn-in and the village re-opened nominations for a by-election.

Chris Hall and Lorraine McArthur put their names forward and were acclaimed following the closing of the nomination period. Following swearing-in, Hall was appointed as the village’s new Mayor, with McArthur as Deputy Mayor.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail

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