Six Town of High Prairie council members will be dipping into a newly-created $35,000 slush fund to sponsor the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo.

During budget deliberations last year, and despite a small tax increase and rising utility costs, council agreed to set aside $35,000 with Mayor Brian Panasiuk and councillors Donna Deynaka, John Dunn, Sacha Martens, Judy Stenhouse, James Waikle, and Therese Yachshyn each given $5,000 discretionary spending powers.

“To date, there have been no funds allocated from these funds,” wrote acting CAO Rita Maure in her report to council.

All of council, except Stenhouse, was quick to support a request from the Elks for a donation. Stenhouse said council already gave a lot of in-kind donations.

Council considered becoming a major sponsor valued at $2,200.

“We should be a major sponsor,” said Dunn.

“Each of us has $5,000. I will commit $1,100,” he added.

“I’ll throw in the other $1,100,” added Waikle.

“This is the premier event in our community. We just lost one (Treaty 8 First Nations Cup). I think we can step up on this.”

Referencing the Treaty 8 Cup, no member of council stepped forward to offer sponsorship for the event knowing they were sitting on $35,000. Arguably, the Treaty 8 Cup is the second biggest economic event in the town each year next to the rodeo. At worst, it is third behind the High Prairie Gun and Sportsman Show, which also did not receive any money from the slush fun.

Deynaka also committed to support the Elks. She noted if all seven councillors agreed the cost would be $314.28 each.

“This is major event for our community,” added Yacyshyn.

“Myself, I am totally behind this event,” said Panasiuk.

“I’m fine supporting the Elks and their pro rodeo,” he added.

Council passed a motion to sponsor with all councillors included except Stenhouse at a cost of $366.67.

The matter of dispersing the six complimentary tickets arose. Stenhouse wanted the Outstanding Citizen and nominees to receive the tickets while Dunn wanted staff as an appreciation for what they do for the town. Eventually, a decision was reached for the six tickets to be given to Panasiuk or designate attending the rodeo on behalf of council, the Outstanding Citizen winner, and four staff.

by Chris Clegg
April 10, 2023

This item copyrighted by / South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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