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Coalhurst finances wrapped up for the 2023 year

Posted on January 25, 2024 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Southern Alberta Newspapers

The following are selected briefs from directors’ reports presented during the Jan. 16 Coalhurst town council meeting.

Director of Corporate Services

Mike Passey, director of corporate services for the Town, reported that January was the Town’s “hurry up and wait” period as they work on processing and closing all their financial transactions for 2023. In addition to various systems being updated for the new year, this has kept Town staff busy.

Town administration has been reminding contractors to submit their invoices so that expenses can be sorted into the proper accounting year. When the invoices are in, administration can process the Statements of Funding Expenditures (SFEs) for the various grants that have funded projects throughout the year, and get things ready for the annual audit taking place in March.

Director of Community Development

Christy Henning, director of community development for the Town, reported that several strategic communication activities have taken place such as developing the January edition of the Town newsletter, social media engagement testing and the first phase of planning for the Town’s Corporate Strategic Communications Plan and Public Engagement Framework.

Henning has met with FCSS staff and members of the 55 Plus Society to learn more about their organizations and discuss the town can continue to work with and support them. The FCSS meeting led to a follow up meeting on advertising and the promotion of programs taking place in Coalhurst.

On the community events side, Henning reported that the winners from the December Christmas House Decorating have passed on thanks to the Town for recognizing their efforts. It had also been well received by other residents, and the contest results had received a lot of online engagement, with the post reaching nearly 1,150 people with more than 470 engagements. For context, the Town has nearly 1,300 followers on its Facebook page.

The newly-struck Community Celebration Committee is holding its first meeting on Feb. 8, with six local organizations and non-profits being invited to be part of the committee. 

Administration is waiting to hear if the Town has received a grant from the Celebrate Canada Fund, which, if successful, would help fund celebrations for Canada Day. More information on the event will be shared with council and residents when available.

On the community development side, per council direction, administration is drafting a policy for a newly-designed Community Grant Program, which would reflect elements of similar grant programs offered in Diamond Valley, Strathmore, Beaumont and Medicine Hat. The draft policy will be presented to council by March 2024.

Administration has distributed the $5,000 in community grant funding for Coalhurst High School’s (CHS) eSports program.

The Community Enrichment Advisory Committee is holding its first meeting in early February, with updates being provided to council as they become available.

“It’s just a lot of laying foundation work right now and trying to put processes in place, and make sure I understand how the organization works and learning more about the town, and the functionality of the different community groups and that sort of thing,” said Henning on the new role. “A lot of the work that we’re going to be doing and a lot of the things that I need to understand better will be coming from the start of the committees and getting roped into the community events and the enhancement committee and that sort of thing.”

Director of Legislative Services

Karlene Betteridge, director of legislative services for the Town, has been focusing on administrative organization and documents of all council and committee meetings, with the website being updated, new templates in their meeting management website, Outlook invitations sent out and establishing the 2024 Council and Committee calendar. 

In terms of the council chambers, Betteridge said it is still a challenge in terms of layout and technology workarounds. They are trying a new seating arrangement to assist Mayor Lyndsay Montina in running a meeting more effectively. However, half the meetings encounter technological glitches, and Betteridge is looking into quotes for new furniture and technology.

Betteridge will be working on developing a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act training program for staff and council in 2024.

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