Stettler council increases funding to Heartland Youth Centre

HYC running at a deficit

By Kevin J Sabo For the Independent

A delegation from the Heartland Youth Centre (HYC) was present during the Nov. 20 Town of Stettler council meeting, where their 2019 budget proposal was reviewed by council, and both sides had the opportunity for questions and answers.

HYC has been in the community of Stettler for decades, and the town has been contributing $40,000 a year since 2013 to help maintain the programs that HYC offers. Due to changes in funding, the economy, and the competition of hiring staff from a relatively shallow pool of qualified applicants, HYC was been running a deficit of about $20,000 a year for the last few years.

RELATED: Town of Stettler increases staff Christmas bonuses. Council unanimously votes in favour

While their savings have allowed them to continue to operate without much in the way of service disruption for the youth in the community, they recognize that continually running deficits is not a viable long-term plan. As part of their ongoing plans, HYC is looking to increase revenue and fundraising dollars.

“We are committed to more fundraising,” said HYC Board Treasurer Brenda Esquirol.” The board recognizes the economy and current state of affairs. The budget reflects that.”

With the funding from the town being a significant portion of their income for any given year, HYC asked the town to increase funding to $50,000 a year starting with the 2019 budget.

“This is a significant increase,” said Coun. Wayne Smith. “Coming in here with a plan. I’m very impressed.”

In a motion made by Coun. Malcolm Fischer, council agreed unanimously to fund the extra $10,000 to HYC for the 2019 budget year.

The HYC programs see about 300 youth go through their doors in a given year, according to Executive Director Winnie Bissett, and has programming for ages six to 18.

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