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M.D. adding policies for more consistency

The M.D. of Bonnyville is implementing more policies to be more consistent in their decision-making and hold council accountable.

“We hired Luc Mercier our new CAO back in October and it wasn’t long before he came to me and said, ‘we need policies, there’s a lack of direction here,’” said Reeve Greg Sawchuk.

Over the past two council meetings, policies about council pay, council meetings and attendance, community action grants, community association operating and capital grants have been presented to council.

“You deal with a particular item once, and if you want that to carry through you just set a policy and then that gives administration the ability to deal with all future requests that are similar in a similar manner, and then council only has to deal with the anomalies, or the ones that are maybe just a little bit different than the normal,” said CAO Luc Mercier.

Mercier said the change in structure has to do with different management styles between chief administrative officers.

“Some of that has to do with my management style. Some of that has to do with the new council direction and some of the changes from the new municipal government act also.

“The way it’s been kind of structured, it’s how we need to operate as a municipality as times change,” said Mercier.

Sawchuk said that this council has been looking to become more transparent and consistent compared to councils in the past.

“When a resident comes in and asks for a certain thing, then the administration can say ‘we have this policy in place that says we can do this.’ It’s at least a straightforward answer. You don’t have that grey area that would allow either for administration or council to vary off on their own,” said Sawchuk.

New policies

A policy has been put behind the Community Association Operating and Capital Grants, which provides the basic funding each year to community halls, agricultural societies and museums.

Associations can apply directly to the M.D. for smaller capital grants but have the option of applying for matching provincial funding.

The Community Action Grant was developed by the M.D in 2016.

The M.D. says they’ve had a steady increase in applications, so a policy outlining deadlines, eligibility criteria and funding amounts was approved by council.

The policy’s purpose is to provide guidelines and a transparent process of giving grant funding for events and capital projects to applicants.

An advisory committee could be developed in the future to review applications over $1000.

Applications will only be considered every second year.

The M.D. updated the reimbursement and expense claims policy and removed expense claims for meal tipping and alcohol use.

The CRA updated the automobile rates for 2019 and the policy was changed to reflect the update.

Councillors can expense 55 cents per kilometer on mileage.

The M.D. is also developing the map that will for their 2019 Dust Control Program using MG 30 on M.D. gravel roads.

The policy will finalize the areas that will be controlled this summer and is set to return to council soon.