By Stu Salkeld The Stettler Independent
The Town of Stettler approved its 2018 portion of the Stettler Regional Board of Trade’s budget after a presentation at the Dec. 5 regular council meeting. Councilor Cheryl Barros was absent from the meeting.
Council’s agenda held an item featuring Stettler Regional Board of Trade executive director Stacey Benjamin presenting a bit about the organization’s past year and upcoming budget.
“We’ve had another successful year at the Board of Trade,” said Benjamin to council. She said the board has enjoyed lots of support from the Stettler community and businesses.
Benjamin pointed out the local board of trade belongs to a number of networking groups such as the Badlands group, the Alberta Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce which allows learning and cooperation.
Two more projects completed this past year include the visitor guide, about 4,500 copies distributed, and shop local guide.
Council was also shown a promotional video for Taste of the Heartland, the agricultural promotion event that showcases what farming and ranching offer around Stettler and region. Benjamin said the board was very excited about the quality and impact of the video.
The business awards gala was held in the fall, which went very well.
Benjamin noted tourism is the third biggest economic driver in the Stettler region and the board is dedicated to promoting the area. An example she touted was the historic train tours which are said to attract upwards of 20,000 people to Stettler.
Councilor Scott Pfeiffer asked Benjamin about the annual Pheasant Festival. He said not much is known in the community about the event.
Benjamin answered that the annual bird-hunting event has a major expense, the pheasants themselves, which totals about $35,000. However, the board of trade has some sponsorship help from local organizations and the hunting experts Cabala’s. She said the event is in its fifth year.
Councilor Malcolm Fischer said he feels the festival is a great, unique event that brings notoriety to the region.
Looking at the board’s budget, CAO Greg Switenky stated the board has roughly a $500,000 budget and raises about $236,000 revenue themselves. The rest is paid through grants from fees like Town of Stettler business licenses. Switenky said the board of trade gives a lot of value, including the benefits of a chamber of commerce and an economic development department.
According to documentation included in the Dec. 5 council agenda, the 2018 BOT revenue is $236,960, 2018 BOT expense is $495,567, the 2018 Budget (net) is $258,607 (2017 – $251,168 – diff = $7,439 = 3 per cent, compared to 2016 – $251,172).
The memo stated net contribution (from business taxes, business licenses and general taxes) is $6,450 (Business taxes), $86,250 (Business licenses) and $165,907 (general taxes, compared to last year 2017 – $157,418 – diff = $8,489 = 5 per cent).
Mayor Sean Nolls said the list of successful events spearheaded by the board of trade, which has only three employees, is impressive. “It just goes on and on,” said Nolls.
Councilors voted to approve the board of trade’s budget as it was presented.
Nolls added, “I look forward to everything you guys are going to do.”