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Stirling census discrepancies spark council discussion

Posted on March 23, 2017 by Westwind Weekly

Ron Riemann
Westwind Weekly News

Stirling Council talked about the Village Census in 2017 during their regular meeting on March 15.

Chief Administrative Officer Mike Selk said earlier censuses from a few years back showed the Village’s population at 1,215, but numbers from a federal census has Stirling’s population at 978 – a very high discrepancy, according to Selk.

“So what will happen in 2017, they will use the federal census number for ’17 and onward unless we do our own census,” said Selk. “We really should be doing it every year so we don’t have a gap. Last year, the provincial government used our 2015 number and in 2017 they will use our 2017 numbers if we do it (census),” said Selk.

Selk said the discrepancy in population numbers could affect future money for the Library, which would be in the thousands of dollars because the population base is less than 1,000 from a federal prospective. He said the cost of the census could be $3,000 – $5,000, and has asked Council for a motion to be done. Coun. Jason Edwards made a motion to direct Administration to engage the appropriate parties to conduct a census for 2017. Motion was carried unanimously.

Council discussed the capital budget for 2017, a few days before the Alberta Budget. Administration was confident that capital dollars would be set aside for the Village, but Council still needed to cut approximately $180,000 on top of foreseeable capital dollars.

Selk highlighted some capital items of concern, including an increase in the cost for a roof replacement at the fire department. There was also an increase in a quote for paving Second Street. The cost now for the paving is approximately $165,000, up from the original $135,000.

“The numbers have been moving up quite a bit over the last few years” said Selk. “Probably our last block we did, we were around $160,000 for everything, engineering, shaping, top soil… this time, we are looking at that number just for the excavation, basing, and pavement.”

Another capital item from a Village prospective that Administration recommended was the expansion of the office, including the ATB Agency.

One capital project was a must-do through the eyes of some of the Councillors including Mayor Ben Nilsson, and that was the sewer main repair from Second Avenue South between Third and Fifth Street – a stretch of 463 metres.

Selk said that area has seen calls at least twice a year for repairs with emergency work on top of that. Currently, the Village budgets $20,000 for repairs. Selk said if Council wants to approve the project, it can be phased over two years.

Nilsson was serious about the sewer main from a resident standpoint.

“I’m thinking, as a resident, if I constantly have to call the Village and come, I’d be livid,” said Nilsson.

Council asked Selk if they removed the paving project from the budget, would it help Administration in balancing the capital budget. Selk said Council can go that route if they like. Administration said the roof replacement of the fire hall would begin in a couple of weeks.

Although Council agreed the sewer main was a main priority, they agreed to table the discussion for a later date until an update was provided on provincial dollars.

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