Botha loses its village status on Sept. 1st

Community to become a County of Stettler hamlet

Contributed photo One of Botha’s vacant buildings.

The Village of Botha is set to become a hamlet of the County of Stettler on Sept. 1.

On May 15, Botha residents sent a strong message to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, voting 91 per cent for the dissolution of their village.

This means out of 57 votes cast, 52 voters chose for their community to become a hamlet of the County of Stettler.

The dissolution date for the village was set this week by the Lieutenant Governor in Council after a recommendation by Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson, under the authority of the Municipal Government Act.

With a dwindling population, Botha’s viability as a village was publicly questioned in 2015 when some residents complained it was hard to get community members to run for village council.

There were no challenger in the past two elections, and the village of 206 people had gone through four administrators in three years until the County of Stettler took over administration, under contract, at the beginning of last year. The county has also been contracted to provide utility services to Botha.

Among the community’s many challenges was finding money for infrastructure projects. Not enough money comes in from utility bills to cover the costs

A survey of residents found 24 of 31 felt their tax and utility bills were not affordable at current service levels.

County mill rates are expected to lower local taxes when Botha becomes a hamlet.

After the vote in May, Botha Mayor Flo Iskiw said she “was excited, relieved and gratified” by the results. “Our council believes this was the best option for our village and now the residents have agreed that we can all move forward together.”

lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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