Budget talk at Stettler town council Dec. 5

Various groups approach town council to present on 2018 budgets

By Stu Salkeld The Stettler Independent

Town of Stettler council had plenty of work to do at their regular meeting Dec. 5, with multiple delegations and a packed agenda. Councilor Cheryl Barros was absent from the meeting.

FCSS budget

Councilors heard a presentation from Stettler FCSS representative Shelly Walker regarding the social organization’s 2018 budget. Walker presented councilors with the budget details and stated it appeared about the same as usual. “There’s no big changes to the budget,” said Walker to council.

It was noted the community development portion numbers $15,000; Walker stated the FCSS wanted to do more family programming in the community.

Mayor Sean Nolls stated more Stettler and area residents should make use of FCSS programming, but Walker said she thinks a lot of people don’t know everything the organization has to offer.

“You guys are an asset,” said Nolls, to which Walker responded, “We’re trying.”

Councilors unanimously approved the staff recommendation that the Town of Stettler Council approve the balanced 2018 Operating Budget for the FCSS in the amount of $440,060.55 as presented. And further approves the inclusion of $196,435 in the Town’s 2018 Budget for the FCSS representing $39,287 in Town Funding (20 per cent) and $157,148 in Provincial funding (80 per cent).

Museum funding

Councilors also examined a memo from staff regarding the Stettler Town and Country Museum budget.” We are in receipt of the Stettler Town and Country Museum 2018 Budget,” stated the agenda memo. “The volunteer Museum Board continues to do a fantastic job in operating, maintaining and enhancing the Museum site. The Museum is continuing to request an increase of $2,000 per year, in each of the next five years (from both the Town and County) to support basic operating costs and help address some of their challenges in undertaking needed repairs to historical buildings, renewal projects and other site improvements.”

Mayor Nolls asked why an automatic increase to the museum budget of $2,000 was included. Nolls noted the town contribution to the museum budget in 2010 was $18,000 and by 2017 had increased to $34,000. “There’s a danger with that,” said Nolls.

CAO Greg Switenky said the museum has many artifacts and exhibits requiring upkeep, and is also a huge tourist draw to the area.

Councilors followed the staff recommendation that the Town of Stettler Council accept the Stettler Town & Country Museum 2018 Budget as presented, and approve financial assistance for the Stettler Town & Country Museum in the amount of $34,000 within the Town’s 2018 Operating Budget.

Public library budget

Representatives of the Stettler Public Library appeared to present their 2018 budget and discuss the previous year. Matt Barabash, library manager, spoke to council.

Council’s agenda noted the 2018 contribution from the town would be $237,243.66. Barabash said the increase in 2018 would be about 2.4 per cent.

He noted the library had 712 new memberships up to Nov. 30, outreach services have increased by 50 per cent, the library’s seen an 18 per cent increase in visitors and 12 per cent increase in programs.

Councilors approved the requested budget amount.

Christmas time in Stettler

During CAO Switenky’s report, he noted the Main Street Christmas tree went up without a hiccup. “Another spectacular tree,” said Switenky.

Mayor’s report

During regular councilor reports, Mayor Nolls had some interesting comments from a recent housing meeting.

He noted right now in Stettler is the highest rate of vacancies in lodges.

He also stated the waiting list for affordable housing is at an all-time high.

editor@stettlerindependent.com

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