Mayor Rick Bonnett signs a pair of agreements on behalf of the Town of Ponoka, the ICF and shared recreation funding agreement, on Feb. 28 with Reeve Paul McLauchlin, representing Ponoka County. Photo submitted

Ponoka signs ICF, shared recreation funding agreement

Ponoka town council approved two agreements during its regular meeting on Feb. 25, a new shared recreation services funding agreement between the town and Ponoka County, and all three readings of the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF).

Shared Recreation Services Funding Agreement

After its approval on Feb. 25, the town signed a new five-year agreement for shared recreation services funding with Ponoka County on Feb. 28.

During the process to develop the ICF, it was determined that a recreation funding was needed before the ICF could be adopted.

The agreement outlines an equitable funding model for recreation services that are used by Ponoka citizens in both the town and county.

The new agreement is based on per capita operating costs for the arena, Aquaplex, splash park and sports fields in town.

Under the agreement, Ponoka County will increase its current annual recreation funding contribution to $75 per capita (from the current $55 per capita), and increase it to $85 per capita in 2021 and to $95 per capita in 2022 based on projected population growth.

During the Feb. 28 meeting, Coun. Kevin Ferguson thanked everyone who worked on the agreement for their hard work.

“I know it was tough at times, but thank you,” he said.

“I would like to commend both the committee and the staff who have worked unbelievably hard since December to get to where we are today,” said Coun. Teri Underhill.

“Staff and members of the committee from both municipalities have done a phenomenal job.”

Underhill went on to say that there’s a lot of communities out there that aren’t where the town is with these agreements, and getting the ICF in place before the April 1, 2020 deadline.

The town still has the IDP agreement to go through with the county and is still hoping to negotiate a few points.

“We still have work to do,” said Underhill.

Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework

READ MORE:Ponoka County passes ICF’s with Ponoka and Rimbey

Following several meetings between the two municipalities, the town approved the ICF on Feb. 25.

The purpose of an ICF is to explore mutually beneficial planning and delivery and funding of shared services to residents of neighbouring municipalities.

The new ICF between the town and county outlines funding agreements for recreation services, library services, fire services, emergency services, seniors housing, Ponoka Family and Community Support Services, Fort Ostell Museum and the Forest Home Cemetery.

Under the ICF, a committee with representatives from both the town and county has been formed. It also includes a process for initiating future conversations between the two municipalities about new projects or services that may require cost-sharing agreements.

“I was involved in the process of editing and refining this document and of course attended many of the meetings, and I’m very pleased with the shape that the agreement [arrived at],” said CAO Albert Flootman Feb. 25.

“It certainly sets the stage for future discussions with the county.”

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