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SNEAK PEEK: County councillors to address funding request, budget timeline, and draft bylaws

Councillors will hear from Teen Centre, review code of conduct changes during Nov. 30 meeting
Athabasca County councillors will meet in the County administration building Nov. 30 for the second regular council meeting of the month. Topics on the agenda include a delegation from the Athabasca Teen Centre, an updated 2024 budget adoption timeline, and two draft bylaws for review.

ATHABASCA — Athabasca County councillors will gather in the county’s council chambers tomorrow morning, Nov. 30, to address a delegation funding request, discuss a budget timeline, review two new bylaws, and more. 

Justin Grell, coordinator from the Athabasca Teen Centre Society will present an ask for one-time financial assistance to county councillors. Grell presented to Town of Athabasca councillors at their Nov. 21 council meeting, and will be asking the county for similar support. 

The Teen Centre, which has maintained a presence in the community for 30 years, has seen a rise in after-school attendance but is forecasting a funding gap in early 2024 as a result of COVID-19 fundraising delays. Grell said the organization hasn’t requested financial assistance before, and stressed remaining open during the winter months is a priority to provide a warm space for teens in the community. 

County councillors will also review a revised budget adoption timeline for the 2024 capital and operating budgets. An initial timeline for the budgeting process was adopted at the Aug. 22 budget and finance meeting, and during the Nov. 14 council meeting an amendment to the timeline for public consultation was made. A budget open house to allow for ratepayer feedback will be held between January and February 2024. 

Under the bylaws section of the agenda, councillors will review two draft bylaws forwarded from the latest committee of the whole meeting held Nov. 21. The first draft bylaw up for review is the revised fire services document, presented to councillors by Regional Fire Chief Travis Shalapay. The new document combines firework legislation with the fire services bylaw and will define and standardize the levels of service each department in the county can provide. 

The second bylaw slated for councillor attention is the amended council code of conduct draft bylaw. Changes to the code of conduct were initially discussed at the Aug. 31 regular council meeting, where a motion to direct administration to seek legal advice on possible amendments to the document. 

An amended version of the bylaw was presented at the Sept. 19 committee of the whole meeting and has since been reviewed and revised during the Oct. 11 and Nov. 21 committee of the whole meetings. Changes to the bylaw include a definition section, a clearer complaint review process, a clause on the use of social media, and more. 

The county meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and will take place in council chambers at the County Administration Office. The agenda for the Nov. 30 meeting can be accessed here. County council meetings are streamed live on YouTube for anyone unable to attend in person. 

Lexi Freehill,

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