County council highlights

At its Oct. 9 meeting, Ponoka County council voted to support the Rimbey FCSS budget for the upcoming year with $19, 836.

FCSS budget approved

At its Oct. 9 meeting, Ponoka County council voted to support the Rimbey FCSS budget for the upcoming year with $19, 836.

“They run a good program there, that’s for sure,” said Reeve Svenningsen. “Where would we be without those FCSS groups?”

The approved FCSS can be calculated with the council’s budget, said CAO Charlie Cutforth.

Subsistence increase

Based on a salary survey by the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMD & C), council decided to increase its subsistence from $110 to $200 per day.

“They’re (the survey), most of the time, really not meaningful to us,” said Cutforth.

The surveys in the past have included municipalities such as Fort McMurray. “So it’s really hard to compare apples to apples,” said Cutforth.

However, this year the survey the survey was divided to cover rural areas of approximately 10,000 people.

Council only changed the subsistence rate and all other rates, which were close to the average rates, stayed the same.

Three-year energy contract

Council agreed to enter a three-year energy contract with 8760 Energy Inc.

“They’ve actually been retained by the AAMD & C to look at a pool-power supply contract for, well, as many municipalities are interested,” said Cutforth.

Cutforth said entering the contract could save the county $8,000 to $10,000 annually.

Ponoka’s Ag Event Centre could also be included in this contract. ‘Their power costs are extremely high,” said Cutforth.

He doesn’t know how much the Ag Event Centre would save but he hopes it would be a lot.

8760 Energy has combined the energy usage of participating communities and it totals 1.4 billion kilowatts. With the energy costs pooled each municipality would get a better deal for their power, said Cutforth.

‘The risk always is in signing these contracts, if the prices go south well then maybe we’re paying too much. On the other hand what are the chances of that? We haven’t seen that happen in recent history,” said Cutforth.

“We’ve got nothing to lose,” added Coun. Verheire.