Kneehill County council is contemplating expanding its Growing Kneehill country market and long table dinner event, and looking at ways to potentially make it into a multi-day event.

 Council had first expressed a desire to grow the event during the April 18 Committee of the Whole meeting, and Agriculture Services and Parks manager Fallon Sherlock brought the item back for further discussion during the regular Tuesday, May 9 council meeting.

 “Administration has historically reallocated staffing to successfully support the Growing Kneehill event, while county services are temporarily reduced or delayed so the team may manage planning, preparing, and delivering of this important event,” Ms. Sherlock explained during presentations.

 She noted administration had prepared three options in consideration of event delivery-hiring a contractor in order to reduce pressures on Kneehill County staff, continuing to utilize Kneehill County staff to deliver the event, or reducing the event to a single-day country market event only.

 Ms. Sherlock shared that to hire a contractor for event delivery was estimated at some $52,000, though administration would recommend an additional 10 per cent contingency of $5,200 in the event of cost overages. However, this is some $22,200 above the approved budget of $35,000 for the event-this $35,000 is only reflective of rental costs and does not take into consideration any staffing costs. Ms. Sherlock noted, if council approved this option, administration would look at opportunities to reduce costs, including sponsorships and volunteers, as well as food donations from local vendors. 

 While there would still be some internal staffing costs, these would be reduced by some $28,000, and would allow the county to maintain its existing service levels.

 If council preferred to maintain event delivery as it has historically, using three full-time and eight to 12 seasonal Kneehill County staff, internal staffing costs would be between $30,000 to $40,000. Using staff to deliver the event would also result in reduced or delayed services, such as weed inspection and spraying, in the two weeks leading up to, and during, the event.

 The third option, which would reduce the event to a single-day country market only, would result in significantly lower financial implications, estimated at approximately $10,000.

 Following a lengthy discussion regarding the event and the merits of each option, council approved hiring a contractor for event delivery, with an increase of $22,200 to the Ag Services budget.

By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

Original Published on May 31, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   The Drumheller Mail   Drumheller, Alberta

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