Council fields budget requests

Town council receives several budget requests during a regular meeting.

Town councillors heard from several community groups looking for funds to benefit their programming during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12 starting with Shannon Boyce-Campbell, executive director of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS).

She explained that due to provincial funding increases, the town and Ponoka County would need to increase their contributions as well. Funding for FCSS is provided through an 80/20 per cent grant arrangement with the province paying the larger share and municipality taking on the smaller portion. In this case, as Ponoka FCSS serves two municipalities, the town pays 10 per cent and so does Ponoka County. To proportionally match the increase by the provincial government, both municipalities will pay FCSS $36,700 in 2016, up from $33,000 in 2015. In 2017 the amount will rise to just over $40,000 each.

“The province is asking you to match them a little bit more,” said Boyce-Campbell.

Because of the increased funding, Boyce-Campbell suggests FCSS will also have greater responsibility in the near future but how that will look remains unclear. She added that the agency will continue its programming but the goal is to offer services that are more than just preventative programs by working more closely with community groups.

The Early Child Development Mapping Project (ECMap) was a standalone service of the provincial government, but will now fall under the umbrella of FCSS.

She added that with the stagnant economy, other issues and gaps in services have arisen. The goal is to determine those gaps in the near future.

Fort Ostell Museum request

The museum is looking for $20,000 for 2016, up from $18,000 in 2015.

Chairperson of the board of the museum Craig Robinson explained the main reason for the increased request was that grant funding normally available from the Alberta Museum Association was no longer readily provided.

Robinson said the board will still apply for funds from the association, the money helps pay for summer students, but it wasn’t set in stone they would get it.

Coun. Teri Underhill is in favour of approving the increase. “They do a phenomenal job on very little money,” she said.

Library to continue free membership

For the Ponoka Jubilee Library there will be no increase in dollar requests over last year.

Library manager Jaclyn Berry said the free library membership program was partly covered due to staff changes. She added that the program is so popular that membership has increased by 35 per cent with almost 300 new members. “With public libraries that is huge.”

“We had 164 different programs in 2015 with over 2,200 participants,” added Berry.

Wheelchair Van Society request

The society is looking for $20,000 for help with its regular operations.

The money will help operate its two new vans, said board member Keith Bresee. He said the society was able to buy two new vans last year with help from the community and grant.

No decisions were made regarding budget requests by council.