Organizations that apply for County of Stettler grants on an annual basis may see some changes to one of the municipality’s major sponsorship programs. Applications to the Community Investment Program were discussed at the Jan. 10 regular meeting of council.

At the beginning of the meeting when the agenda item of “Community Investment Program” was introduced councillors immediately moved into “close session” and remained in private talks for about 45 minutes. It was noted on the meeting agenda the program was being discussed in closed session under the authority of FOIP section 23, local public body confidences.

Readers should note closed session is an authority granted to municipal councils under the Municipal Government Act to discuss issues mostly involving freedom of information and protection of privacy legislation. No resolutions can be made in closed session, only in the public meeting.

“The Community Investment Program was created in order to streamline sponsorship requests from community groups in an equitable way, with a set, budgeted amount per year,” stated a staff memo. “As per the policy, funding from this program is a one time, interim measure and is not to be relied on as a continuing source of income. 

The deadline for the first set of applications was Dec. 31, 2023. The next application deadline for 2024 events will be May 31.” 

Staff noted there were eight applicants for this round of funding.

After returning to the public meeting Coun. James Nibourg made a motion that the following applicants be granted the applicable amount from the program: Big Jack Classic 2nd Annual Fishing Derby $1,000, Big Valley Kids Christmas $250, Donalda Ag Society $1,000, Kidsport Stettler $500, Red Willow Ag Society $1,000 and Stettler & District Music Festival $500. for a total of $4,250.

Only two applicants were in effect turned down. Nibourg stated one applicant, the Rising Stars Cattle Clinic, should apply to the Agriculture Service Board (ASB) for funds. Later in the meeting Coun. Les Stulberg stated he would take the application himself to the ASB as he saw a lot of value in the program.

An application letter included in the agenda package from Maureen Mappin-Smith on behalf of the Rising Stars committee stated this event is a cattle clinic for youth under the age of 21 which included topics such as daily care, feeding, nutrition and much more.

Nibourg then stated that another applicant, Stettler & District Home Support, which applied for $4,820, should appear as a delegation to council with their request as it didn’t seem to fit under this program’s model with Nibourg describing home support as “a worthy cause.” 

According to the staff memo home support was granted $4,820 from the County of Stettler’s Rural Development Fund in 2023.

It was noted some funds for the current funding round were unspent, and would be available in the next round.

Stulberg asked if an unexpected “one-off” application comes in could be considered and councillors agreed it could.

Stulberg then noted that there are organizations in the area that do good work and benefit the community but don’t meet this program’s guidelines. 

He made a motion to have administration write an amendment to this policy that would allow a capped amount of funds for groups that return annually.

Councillors unanimously approved that motion.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 17, 2024 at 13:23

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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