A formal agreement on recreation funding between Ponoka County and the Town of Rimbey has finally been hashed out.
Rimbey council approved the deal at its meeting Feb. 11, while the county confirmed its approval through a motion passed via a special meeting on Feb. 12.
The landmark agreement, which was one aspect of the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) process mandated by the province, will see the county increase its per captia contribution from $55 to $75 for 2020.
That figure will rise another $10 over each of the next two years — reaching $95 in 2022 — with the amount increasing by the rate of inflation staring in 2023. The agreement is also subject to review by the two parties after five years.
“Ponoka County is excited to finalize a recreation agreement with the Town of Rimbey,” said Reeve Paul McLauchlin in an interview.
“This agreement is symbolic of the continuing partnership we have always had with the town to provide both county and town residents with the best recreational opportunities we can.
“In addition, this agreement will provide funding certainty for both parties that in these days of fiscal austerity is important to both entities. On behalf of the county residents and council I want to express our gratitude to the town for their stewardship of the recreation and facilities and needs of all our residents.”
During a brief discusion of the subject during Ponoka County’s council meeting on Feb. 11, planning consultant Elizabeth Armitage — who was assisting the two sides in developing the ICF — explained there is one clause in this particular agreement that makes it unique.
“Rimbey has made it abundently clear that they are not interested in going through mediation,” she said.
“The clause states that based on the 2020 recreation discussions, the Town of Rimbey and Ponoka County agreement upon conclusion of the Town of Ponoka and Ponoka County process — whether through negotiations, mediation and/or arbitration — the agreement between the Town of Rimbey and Ponoka County will be updated to reflect any equivilant increase.”
What that means is the two agreements will essentially generate an equal benefit for the two towns.
McLauchlin did add there are certain communities throughout the province that have pulled back on possible deals at the last minute and there is always that potential of something like that occurring, especially when it comes to potential funding of certain capital projects that future politicians may aspire to have built.