The County of Stettler Council has approved $5,000 worth of spending under a new program during their Jan. 12, 2022, council meeting.
The previously passed Community Investment Program has the county set aside $15,000 to go towards community event funding in the region, with up to $7,500 being allocated for the first six-months of the year, and the remainder during the second half.
“The Community Investment Program was created in order to streamline sponsorship requests from community groups in an equitable way, with a budgeted amount per year.” was stated in the council request for decision.
The deadline for the first intake of the funding was Dec. 31, 2021, with three organizations submitting requests.
The Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede, Stettler and District Music Festival, and Canadian Northern Society-Canadian Northern Railway 125 Anniversary all requested funding during the first intake of the program.
Coun. Les Stulberg motioned to grant $5,000 to Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede, $2,000 to Canadian Northern Railway, and $500 to the Stettler and District Music Festival, the full allocation for the first intake, something which did not sit well with all councillors.
“We’re on day 12 of the new year, and we’re going to spend our entire allotted money for this?” asked Coun. James Nibourg.
“We’re blowing our entire kitty in one motion. There are a ton of events in the area.”
Director of municipal services Andrew Brysiuk noted that under the new policy, council would only be brought these decisions twice a year, and that the next window wouldn’t close until May. 31, 2022.
Lorraine Hankins, the manager of recreation and insurance who originated the request for decision, also noted that all groups within the county had been notified of the policy change.
Ultimately, after further discussion, Stulberg amended his motion to grant $2,500 to the Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede, $2,000 to Canadian Northern Railway, and $500 for the Castor and District Music Festival, for a total of $5,000, leaving $10,000 for events in the second half of the year.