Alix village council divided up the balance of provincial funds designated to offset financial difficulties linked to the COVID-19 pandemic at their regular council meeting Mar. 3.
The meeting was streamed via Zoom to meet pandemic rules.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White presented councillors with a report on the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST), supplied to municipalities by the provincial government to offset financial difficulties linked to the pandemic.
White noted in her report the village was eligible for $79,324, and the village, by the end of 2020, had spent $14,303.85 on COVID expenses such as personal protective equipment.
She further noted $41,267.91 has been spent in 2021, which includes allocations of MOST funds to the Alix-MAC School breakfast program ($2,500) and the arena ($37,000).
She reported at the meeting $23,338.45 was available to grant to other groups.
“We have confirmed that non-profit organizations within the community are eligible to be granted funds as long as the funds are granted under the terms of the eligible expenses,” stated White in her report, who noted MOST funds must be linked to COVID-19 expenses or revenue losses.
Both the Alix Lions Club and figure skating club applied for MOST funds, and both stated they lost revenue due to fundraising casinos being delayed.
White presented a list of Alix groups that applied for MOST funds and the amount they requested: the United Church Women (UCW) $4,674, Alix Public Library $1,952, Wagon Wheel Museum $3,140, Lions Club $10,000, Alix Figure Skating Club $4,080 and the Alix Fire Medical Association $5,000.
The CAO stated all these requests met the guidelines although it was up to council to decide if lost casino revenue was eligible.
The CAO also noted the village must disperse the funds by March 31, 2021 or the money goes back to Edmonton.
Coun. Tim Besuijen, who noted the requests added up to more money than the village had available, asked why the Lions Club requested $10,000.
White stated it was related to their lost casino revenue.
Mayor Rob Fehr stated that even if a group makes that much money at a casino, they won’t necessarily get that money right away. They may have to wait a while to receive it, he added.
Mayor Fehr also added that the Lions Club could keep in touch with the village if they are struggling, and it also appears pandemic guidelines may be lifted a bit more by summertime, meaning fundraising events might be held.
During their discussions, councillors mentioned several times they wanted to divide the money up as evenly as possible.
Councillors eventually unanimously approved granting the following funds from the MOST grant: UCW $4,500, $1,838 library, $3,000 museum, $5,000 Lions, $4,000 skating club and $5,000 fire rescue.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter