Council member payments were reviewed during their regular meeting on Nov. 26, when Mayor Barry Rudd and all six councillors stated they feel the current amount they are receiving for their service is sufficient.
“My thought as far as the mayor’s pay is that it not be changed,” said Rudd, adding it was increased two years ago. “We did just increase it, and I think it’s setting the example that we’re not here to gouge, we’re here for the betterment of the community and the ratepayers.”
All the councillors agreed the current amount was fair, and councillors Tina Cresswell and Michelle McKenzie added they believed the job of the mayor should be reassessed should the position require more commitment from the individual in the future.
“When I look and compare it to similar communities, we’re right in the ball park,” stated Councillor Barry Elderkin of council’s wages. “We weren’t two years ago, but I think… we need to look at this every two years for sure, because the last time it hadn’t been looked at for a number of years.”
Councillor Justin McFarlane suggested it be re-examined every year to allow for the review of compensation for mileage when attending out-of-town functions on behalf of the town.
Council resolved to leave the rates as they are and review them annually.
Four years after it was originally brought to the council table, the town has finally been able to make a decision on the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure’s Urban Highway Connector Program.
When it was first introduced, the program was to make the portions of provincial highway running through urban centres the responsibility of the municipality to maintain, such as the section of Highway 21 running through Maple Creek.
However, the ministry has given municipalities another option.
“We’ve got some choices that we can make. We can stay the same and give highways the jurisdiction, so we would have to make an application to put in a light post or a crosswalk or anything like that,” explained Rudd. “(Or) we could sign an agreement with ministry and keep the jurisdiction and forfeit the money that they would pay us for that stretch. It’s all maintained, they just wouldn’t give us any money for it.”
The town has always had jurisdiction over Pacific Avenue – which the ministry provides funds to maintain each year – but the section in question is Highway 21 from Pacific Avenue to the south end of town.
The mayor said the town would want jurisdiction if it were intending to have more development along the highway, but that isn’t the case.
Council agreed to leave the jurisdiction with the Department of Highways and forfeit the operating and maintenance grant for the portion of Highway 21.
Council members attended a presentation regarding a new public alert pilot project.
The Emergency Management and Fire Safety Branch of the Ministry of Government Relations is organizing the pilot project as Saskatchewan – like many other provinces – has no agency that receives co-ordinates and disseminates public safety alerts. The development of a national public alerting system started when federal, provincial and territorial ministries began working with the broadcasting industry to establish a Canadian public alerting system. In June 2010, the National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination System (NAAD) was launched. The system is used to distribute alerts for all hazards, police notifications and public service disruptions such as road closures, Amber Alerts and school bus cancellations. Saskatchewan has signed an agreement to use NAAD to issue public alerts.
The Saskatchewan Public Alerting System will be piloted in the western portion of the province, covering the Southwest all the way up to Lloydminster and will come into effect March 1, 2014 and run for one year. There is no cost to each municipality involved except for training purposes.
“You have to have individuals within your community that are aware of how to utilize this system, how to put information on it and what is the proper protocol,” explained town administrator Michelle Schmidt.
“I’m glad to see that it’s on the way,” said Cresswell.
Council decided it will take part in the pilot project.
South West Victim Services requested council’s support in maintaining its services with a donation. The town has made a donation of $200 towards the service each year and consented to a $200 donation again this year.
The new staff hours at the town office was found to be effective. The hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. while maintaining the regular hours the office is open to the public will be maintained.
A request was made to remove an old tree from the boulevard in front of 208 and 210 Marsh Street as the tree is in poor condition and could fall down. Council approved the removal of the dead tree.
Council also approved a landfill use agreement between the town and Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge to allow it to use the Maple Creek waste disposal site at a cost of $4,000 for the year.