(File photo)

(File photo)

Stettler town council recieves multiple budget presentations in Dec. 7 council meeting

The Dec. 7, 2021, Town of Stettler council meeting was a busy place.

Council received delegations from Stettler and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), the Stettler Public Library, and the Stettler Board of Trade (BOT), who each presented their 2022 budgets.

For Stettler FCSS, the budget was presented by board member James Nibourg and executive director Shelley Walker.

Nibourg highlighted the successes of FCSS over the past 20 months, where the organization has been able to keep its doors open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic where many others have not.

“The executive director and her staff do all the hard lifting,” said Nibourg.

“The girls did a phenomenal job making sure the doors stayed open.”

Stettler FCSS was able to help fill the void with the closure of the Alberta Works offices in Stettler, and offers programs such as grief and loss support, financial literacy, family counselling, community navigation services, and many others.

The town’s contribution to FCSS is just under $40,000 per year, and is also funded by the county and the province.

“FCSS is one of those things you never want to use,” said Mayor Sean Nolls. “But when you need it, it is a good thing it is there.”

Council voted in favour of funding FCSS for 2022.

Library manager Rhonda O’Neil and two board members attended the council on behalf of the Stettler Public Library.

Again, the group was highlighting the successes of the last year, despite the pandemic, and presented their 2022 budget to council.

“With what the library accomplishes, I want to take my hat off to the ladies and the staff,” said Coun. Gord Lawlor.

Despite having their doors closed multiple times in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, the Stettler Public Library has succeeded in adding services, such as online programming, take-home craft kits, and curb-side service.

Even with the doors being closed multiple times over the last year, according to O’Neil circulation of items borrowed from the library is around 96,000 so far, and could hit 100,000 by the end of the year, which is getting back to pre-COVID levels.

In addition to the services the library has been providing, the library has also been working at fundraising, recently hosting what is described as the “best yet” Wine Survivor by O’Neil.

The total budget for Stettler’s library is just under $500,000, of which the town pays just over $250,000.

Council voted in favour of approving the 2022 library funding at a budgeted expense of $250,117.

A third delegation appearing before town council was Byron Geddes and Donna Morris of the BOT.

The pair highlighted the projects and events that the BOT was able to conduct in 2021, despite the pandemic.

Events highlighted include Think Local, Shop Stettler, the expansion of Google My Business services,and the Stettler Pheasant Festival.

The Pheasant Festival has been such a success that next year it will be operated by its own committee, and not by the BOT.

Unfortunately, other events such as the Best of Stettler annual awards gala and the Stettler Trade Show have been postponed until 2022.

The town contributes to the BOT through the business tax, business license fees, and general taxes for a total combined amount of just under $373,000.

Council approved the 2022 funding allocation to the BOT.