By Kevin J Sabo
For the Independent
Stettler and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS)representatives were on hand at the Dec. 4 Stettler town council meeting to discuss funding for the 2019 year.
“I marvel at these deeply valuable services that are often invisible,” said Coun. Malcolm Fischer. “So invisible at times, except to the people who really need it.”
The Stettler and District FCSS provides several services in the community. In recent years they have begun family counselling services, a role they plan to expand in the 2019 budget year. FCSS also manages a HARM Reduction program to assist those with substance abuse and addiction issues and a variety of seniors programs.
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FCSS programs funding comes through both the Town of Stettler (20 per cent) and the province (80 per cent). The 2019 budget that FCSS is requesting would see the town funding nearly $40,000 meaning that once the province’s 80 per cent is added the total 2019 budget would be just under $200,000.
Council approved the budget.
Stettler council approves 2019 library budget
The Stettler Library is another invisible but important service in town.
Part of the Parkland Regional Library System, the Stettler library has been seeing growth in recent years. With 66,000 people through the door to for the year to date and 24,000 items borrowed the library staff are happy with the direction things are going.
The improved awareness can be attributed to more programming being offered in the library and Rochon Sands. As well, the library has begun an outreach service to Rochon Sand and to four local Hutterite Colonies. The Stettler Library has hosted over 100 programs in the past year with nearly 1000participants, and 8 programs during the summer at Rochon Sands with over 160 participants. These are all numbers that the library hopes to improve in the next year.
While the library is asking for a modest 3.57 per cent funding increase this year, because of hiring of a new manager at an increased wage due to experience, and the minimum wage increase, the library has had to cut 12.5 hours per week in staff time in order to make the budget work.
The library is funded through requisitions, with the Town of Stettler funding 65 per cent of the total, and the County of Stettler paying the rest. In a motion made by Coun. Malcolm Fischer, council voted unanimously to fund the 2019 library budget at a cost of $245,702. The motion was carried unanimously.