Trochu Town Council Report



Barry Kletke will once again take over the reins as Mayor of the Town of Trochu, while Bill Cunningham steps in as Deputy Mayor. Once those formalities were out of the way, October 25's meeting was an evening to exchange and explain. New councillors were advised that although most meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at 6 pm, there will be a change to three dates in November that will make up for Christmas and the annual convention for Urban Municipalities (Nov. 22-25). To end the year of 2010, regular Council meetings will be held instead on Nov 1, 15 and 29, and Dec 13. All of Council was looking to attend the Kneehill County-hosted orientation Nov. 3 with speaker Russell Farmer.
Administration is planning to line up various local community boards/committees to attend Council for November 15 and if needed, another evening as well, as a way of introducing them to 'new' councillors and allow for a brief update on a group's future plans. Administration is also organizing a retreat and strategic planning session for Council for sometime in mid-January as a way to discuss and decide on goals and priorities for the coming year.
The organizational housekeeping chores were handled, with regard to business cards, name plates, tags, promotional clothing for events (perhaps in pink for winning the label of pinkest town), laptop budget, and copies of the Municipal Government Act. Committees that require Councillor representation were discussed, explaining a bit of what the committee entails, including number of meets and usual dates and times. Councillors were asked which committees would interest them. A preference list was made and sometime after the meeting, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor would begin assigning Councillors to committees, to be brought to the next Council meeting for approval. It was made clear that these assignments to various committees were not written in stone and along the way if a Councillor is not feeling particularly pleased, they can request a change.
It was explained that the Regional Partnership Committee (with various communities) had eventually snowballed into the formation of two other committees - for the grant writer and Doctor Recruitment and now even, a medical building committee. "Sometimes the committee is short-term and sometimes not." A short-term committee, although more local in nature, was explained by Clr. Cunningham as the Trochu Centennial Committee with a meeting being held Wednesday, 7 pm in the Town office. Mayor Kletke took on the explanation for the joint water committee meeting between Trochu, Three Hills and ATCO. He spoke of how they were four years into the planning and discussion but with election creating changes in Three Hills Council it would have to be established that each party is still wanting to take the same direction. Kletke made it clear that the 'positive role' of School Resource Officer should continue, with the committee needing to look at locating some major funds to see the program through another three years.
A couple of interesting points and issues were raised and debated at this evening's meeting. One discussion centered around possible changes to the annual Christmas event for council, staff and volunteers and another was the issue of obligatory alcohol and whether it was appropriate use of tax dollars.
A recent tradition for Christmas has been to invite staff, guests, and community organizations as well as volunteers, including 'volunteer of the year' to an award and recognition banquet. Clr. Warnock pointed out, however, that an evening that recognizes volunteers with awards should include an open invitation to all residents so they too can rejoice in acknowledging their special volunteers. Although Christmas, it was noted, was a festive and appropriate time of the year to celebrate the appreciation of volunteers, the Town would not be able to take on the full meal expense, especially if it includes alcoholic beverages. With the mention of food and alcohol for such a large group, the discussion began to bog down until the Mayor wisely insisted on separating the two issues. Instead of a full-meal banquet, it could be smaller fare, or a charge for the meal, but then some felt the exact numbers would be hard to predict. Another option was to separate the two events with a staff party at Christmas and volunteer appreciation in the New Year during volunteer appreciate week. A motion was approved unanimously to hold a volunteer appreciation night (no time given) that would include an open invitation to the community and would incorporate a more simple fare with no alcohol. As for the staff Christmas party, it was decided that input from the staff itself might be necessary to help with this decision. The issue of alcoholic beverages was up next with Clr. Warnock voicing her opposition to Town dollars being spent on alcohol, specifically for party-type events, such as a Christmas banquet. A few other members of Council had the belief that wine at the table or coupons for a couple of drinks were acceptable. Although it was mentioned that staff (if given fair warning of this change to policy), would not oppose having to pay for their own alcoholic beverages, it appeared that most Councilors felt the beverage should be included. This was most evident when the idea of a motion not permitting Town finances to be used for the purchase of alcohol, was re-worded to include the phrase "zero tolerance". The majority of Council believed that 'zero tolerance' would not be appropriate in instances in which lobbying (such as Doctor Retention meets) sometimes included wine with a meal. The motion was soundly defeated.