Town council approves PAECS request for $15,000

Fifteen thousand dollars is a lot of money when it has potential to be used in other ways.” Coun. Loanna Gulka

The first step in funding for an electronic sign at the Calnash Ag Event Centre was approved by town council by a narrow 3-2 vote.

Acting CAO Betty Quinlan provided some background April 11 of the town’s commitment to the building. Since the inception of the Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society (PAECS), the four founding partners — the Town of Ponoka, Ponoka County, the Ponoka Agricultural Society and the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association — agreed to provide $50,000 for the ag centre for up to three years should it need money.

This is the last year of that agreement, said Quinlan. She suggested the $15,000 could be taken from that savings account. “We’ve never had to access it. As administration, I think it’s a reasonable request,” said Quinlan.

Mayor Rick Bonnett advocated providing financial support for the sign. He represents the town on PAECS and suggests the money is part of a long-term commitment by the Town of Ponoka. He feels the electronic sign would be an ideal way to recognize corporate sponsors.

“I think it was the best way to go to split it up between the four partners,” said Bonnett.

Each partner has been asked for $15,000 to help pay for the estimated $113,000 sign but not all answers were available at press time. The ag event centre will pay the difference and representatives expect it will take three months before the sign is delivered.

Coun. Teri Underhill said she had not seen the financial statements and felt it would be unfair to make a decision without seeing how the centre did. Mayor Bonnett said he had the statement from PAECS’ annual general meeting but had not had a chance to circulate them.

“There was a small profit of $78,000 last year,” added Bonnett.

Coun. Loanna Gulka said that while she understands the ag centre’s needs, council also receives requests for support from other groups.

“Fifteen thousand dollars is a lot of money when it has potential to be used in other ways,” said Gulka.

Coun. Carla Prediger suggested providing assistance is part of the town’s original promise and there is funding in the budget, but Underhill disagreed. “The original intent was potential operating deficit. This is not an operating deficit.”

“This is project specific,” added Gulka.

Coun. Tim Falkiner, Prediger and Mayor Bonnett voted in favour of providing support. Coun. Marc Yaworski was traveling to a conference on behalf of the town and Coun. Sandra Lyon was away.

 

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