By Megan Roth
New councillor Michael Morrow was sworn into office during town council’s regular meeting on Nov 8.
The 2016 maintenance report from the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA) which detailed changes from last years assessment was presented. The report showed an increase on the taxable assessment of $844,820. Some of those increases also include tax concession increases. Town administrator Michele Schmidt said that the amount should be at a status quo, or close to it.
Council agreed to move previously budgeted projects for 2015, which have been rescheduled for 2016, into reserve so the money already budgeted will be there in the new year. This amounts to $532,000.
Council also approved the transfer of $75,704 into reserves for the hospital fund.
“When we see that bill (for the hospital) I’ll have the money,” said Schmidt.
In the spring of this year, council received a grant for $20,000 from the Heritage Society to repair the roof of the Armoury. If the project is not finished by the end of the year, there is a possibility the grant may have to be sent back and reapplied for if the Heritage Society does not give them an extension on the project.
Schmidt confirmed an application for the Multi-material Recycling Program has been made. To be included in the program, all paper work must be sent in by Dec. 31 which Schmidt assured will be done well before the due date.
Council has agreed to look into the possibility of working with other RMs to do a multi-municipal household waste collection day. They are looking to work with other communities to cut down on potential cost to the town, which at the time is hard to calculate because it is determined by volume.
Councillor Ellaine Hawrylak, Michelle McKenzie, and Barry Elderkin went to a conference discussing the town’s Emergency Measures Organizations (EMO) and preparedness.
“We are responsible in making sure that everyone is taken care of in all sorts of disasters and whatever,” said Hawrylak.
McKenzie took away from the conference how important social media can be in a disaster situation and the role it will play.
“You have to have these in your plans in the future, because if not you are going to be very unprepared,” said McKenzie.
McKenzie said it isn’t terrorism that is an issue, it is actually disease. Disease is a major issue because if an outbreak such as measles happens in the work place the question becomes who can take over and can the business or office still run.
“What kind of measures are we bringing in and strategies?” McKenzie said.
Councillor Elderkin said the conference was a “real eye opener” in terms of what needed to be done.
Councillor Tina Cresswell attended the Saskatchewan Economic Development Association (SEDA) conference which had speakers from Main Street Saskatchewan discussing succession planning and keeping businesses in town.
“We have seen in this community the loss of our grocery store and a couple of other businesses. These businesses were lost because of succession planning because there was no one to take them over, in part,” said Cresswell.
With young people leaving smaller communities, many places in Saskatchewan are seeing businesses close down because there is no one there to take it over when the owners retire.
“It’s not something done overnight. You work with young entrepreneurs and try very hard to keep the business in town,” said Cresswell.
Cresswell said that the conference also confirmed there is a lot the community is already doing, like improving the quality of place.
“We had a lot of our stuff confirmed,” said Cresswell.
The Maple Creek Library is the second largest in the region, following Swift Current, and as such it recommend more activities and workshops be done through the library.
“We have increased the number of programs we are offering,” said Elderkin. “We are the second largest library, and the feeling is we should be doing more.”
Part of a three year strategic plan proposed by the regional board is to have “regular and meaningful branch workshops.”
The Maple Creek Library was one of four chosen by the Chinook Regional Library as an honourable mention for rural libraries. The Leader library was chosen as the rural library for 2015.
Saskatchewan government has new regulations about air quality and testing. Council will be working towards meeting those regulation with new equipment to be compliant with the new rules.
The town office will be closed on Dec. 1 to the public as the computer systems will be down during work on the server. Calls will still be answered.
Council approved the quote for two new workstations for the town office for the price of $5,986.