County contribution to youth programs maintained

Ponoka County briefs - More funding may be coming during budget deliberations

Financial requests are starting to pour in to county and one operation knows it will at least get what they got last year.

The group that runs the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) and youth centres in both Ponoka and Rimbey made a presentation to Ponoka County council at their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 26, receiving a guarantee the county will contribute a minimum of $25,000 in funding in 2016 with the potential for more if it can be found during their budget discussions over the next couple of months.

Beth Reitz, executive director for the Ponoka Youth Centre/Boys and Girls Clubs of Wolf Creek (Rimbey), had requested a total of $40,000 to be split between the BBBS programming ($25,000) and the two youth centres ($15,000).

She explained the funding for BBBS represents about 10 per cent of the budget for both Ponoka and Rimbey, while the support for the youth centres impacts only three per cent of those budgets. However, she quoted from a recent study which said for every $1 spent on these programs, the return on investment back to the community equals about $18 or about $450,000 when it comes to the funding from the county.

Reitz added some figures for BBBS, showing the number of rural users in Rimbey made up 31 per cent of participants while that figure in Ponoka was 35 per cent. The program also reached about 90 in Ponoka and 40 in Rimbey last year.

Meanwhile for the two youth centres, their combined reach was close to 1,100 children that represented over 23,400 visits in 2015.

Councillor Mark Matejka was the one that suggested approving the minimum level of support and look at adding more if they could during budget talks, after other members expressed their views that support should continue for the organization despite the current economy.

Recycling revisited

The topic of recycling ironically returned to the council table with administration telling council that the cost estimate received from the proposed contractor would not be prohibitive for the county or its residents.

Chief administrative officer Charlie Cutforth stated one bin placed at the county transfer station by GFL (Green For Life) would cost $475 per pickup, assuming the bin would be collected once every two weeks.

“That is not cost prohibitive, even if we had pick up more often,” said Cutforth.

Only cardboard and tin cans would be accepted and the price for the bin could easily be added to the taxes paid by residents.

“We still need to talk to town to see what kind of accommodation they might be able to make for county residents at their site. The problem is (residents) may not be available to use it at no cost like our site,” he added.

The issue will be brought back during 2016 budget discussions.

Top cop

Only a week into his new assignment, Ponoka RCMP detachment commander Staff Sergeant Mike Numan paid a visit to introduce himself to county council.

S/Sgt. Numan kept it brief, stating he really likes the members and staff as well what is being done by them at the detachment and is hoping that if the county has any issues come up, that he would be more than glad to hear them.

“I really believe in a coffee-type, open door policy and encourage calls back and forth in order to help build that relationship” he said.

It is anticipated he will continue the practice of providing updates every three or four months to council on how things are progressing with enforcement and other duties in the county.