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Crossfield council approves 2022 budget, new remuneration policy

The Town of Crossfield Council reviewed municipal policies, gave the thumbs up to a local survey, and approved its capital budget during a regular meeting on Dec. 7.

Prior to its regular meeting on Dec. 7, Town of Crossfield administration held two budget deliberations to discuss the Town's capital and operating budget plans for 2022.  

Presenting to council Dec. 7, Lori Heikkila, finance officer for the Town of Crossfield, said funding for the municipality's 2022 capital projects is covered 100 per cent by the municipal sustainable initiative and the Canada Community Building fund for a total amount of $4,385,962. 

Three adjustments were made from an initial planning meeting resulting in the removal of a backhoe from the budget, the addition of Christmas lights, and updates to the local splash pad in Banta Park for a total dollar amount of $4,044,980. 

Remaining funds will be used to pay additional costs from the 2021 budget year.  

Mayor Kim Harris said she appreciates all the effort staff members have gone to in creating a "sound capital and operating budget."  

“I appreciate that staff has worked so hard to find and apply grants to go towards capital projects to offset the costs from our residents,” she said.  

New municipal policies 

Crossfield Town council members approved three municipal policies during their Dec. 7 meeting, including the approval of the final version of a local filming policy, a council remuneration policy, and a harassment and workplace violence policy.  

According to Chief Administrative Officer Sue Keenan, the final version of the filming policy highlights how the Town should handle scheduling permits and fees, as well as including photos to showcase the Town’s local amenities to film production companies who wish to shoot their projects in Crossfield.  

“This is an exciting time for the town as we start the promotion of the importance of diversification which includes the film industry,” Keenan said during the meeting. “The [policy] will establish future direction for council and administration with respect to all filming opportunities scheduled for production.” 

Council members also deliberated over a remuneration policy, which resulting in a 25 per cent pay increase based on industry and municipal comparisons.  

Keenan said council members' compensation in Crossfield is currently below the average compensation rate. 

“I do realize with taxpayers, this is always a sensitive topic especially when we’re finalizing budgets, but I think what’s being proposed is very fair,” she said. “At the end of the day, it all works out and it does come in around the mean average of what other communities are doing with their council compensation.” 

Coun. Mike Knight counter-proposed an increased pay for mayoral duties at $1,400 each month, while the councillors would receive a cut in pay from the original proposal, taking in around $1,000 each month.

He also proposed there be no pay rate for the deputy mayor position and councillors adopting mayoral duties would receive the mayoral pay rate instead. The motion, which was accepted unanimously, resulted in a decrease in taxpayer funding from the original proposal.

Finally, Town council approved an updated and revised harassment and workplace violence policy, which Mayor Harris said was “long overdue.” 

“I’m hoping that we never had to use [the policy], but I’m glad it’s in place in case we do,” she said during the meeting.  

Keenan said providing a safe and respectful workplace is a priority for the Town and its staff, which is why a mandatory staff in-serve will be held in late January 2022 to garner feedback from municipal employees.  

“The Town of Crossfield believes in the prevention of harassment, violence, sexual harassment, and discriminatory harassment in the workplace and promotes a violence, harassment-free workplace in which all people respect one another and work together to achieve common goals,” she said. 

Social needs assessment survey 

Also on Dec. 7, the Crossfield Town council approved 2022 funding allocation recommendations for its family and community support services (FCSS) applications, and gave the go-ahead to a community social needs assessment survey to begin this month.  

The program aims to develop locally driven, preventative social initiatives to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities, according to Courtney Cox, FCSS coordinator, during the meeting.  

“Assessing the needs of our community is a responsibility as a municipality,” she said. “Completing a social needs assessment will allow us to identify areas in our community that require improvement.  

“In turn, this will result in the Town being able to distinguish where there are gaps within our community and how administration may determine how FCSS can address them.” 

She added the survey will be used as a tool to determine what type of external and internal funding the Town should prioritize and to ensure the needs of residents are being met through preventative social service programming.  

Due to a lack of FCSS programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, a surplus of funding will need to be used prior to Dec. 31. Cox added this will be allocated towards the community assessment beginning this month.  

RC Strategies, a Canadian consulting firm specializing in community and cultural planning, will be conducting the survey over a period of four to five months. The survey is set to be completed next spring.  

Carmen Cundy, AirdrieToday.com  

Follow me on Twitter @carmenrcundy 


Carmen Cundy

About the Author: Carmen Cundy

Carmen Cundy joined the Airdrie Today team in March 2021.
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