Bashaw town council divided up Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) funds despite having fewer dollars to work with. The decisions were made at the March 4 regular meeting of council.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller provided councillors with a report on two FCSS funding requests, one from the Bashaw Youth Foundation (BYF) which asked for $20,695 for its 2021 programming and another from Bashaw & District Support Services (BDSS), which asked for $64,247 for its programming this year.
Fuller stated in her report the provincial government will provide $24,554 for its share, Camrose County will provide $27,236 and the Town of Bashaw’s share adds up to $6,139, for a total of $59,929.
Fuller stated councillors can always increase the town’s share of funding to FCSS if they wish.
Fuller noted she received information that Camrose County’s contribution is $2,900 lower than last year as it’s calculated on a per capita basis and the Camrose population has apparently dropped.
The CAO also noted that last year BYF got $15,000 in FCSS funding while BDSS received $45,829.
According to the agenda memo, BYF offers after-school programming for children aged eight years and older plus summer activities.
The memo noted BYF had 44 participants in 2019. BDSS funds Community Wellness, Roots of Empathy, preschool, Meals on Wheels, volunteer services, summer reading program, Santas Anonymous, information/referral, FCSS admin services and Tools for School.
Also, BDSS serves as a connection point for residents seeking information.
Fuller noted both organizations provided all the financial information necessary for the applications and it was up to councillors to decide how much money each organization got.
Coun. Lynn Schultz stated the BYF helped 44 kids in 2019 but the BDSS appears to help many more people through more programs and stated it was difficult to support the BFY if it’s not getting used more than that.
“Is that the best place to spend it?” Schultz asked his peers. Mayor Penny Shantz agreed.
Schultz suggested transferring more of the funds to BDSS.
Coun. Rosella Peterman noted organizations continue to have expenses even through the COVID-19 pandemic but also noted, according to the agenda memo, the BYF only had two kids on site.
Peterman stated she was inclined to say give both organizations the same amount of money they received last year and if there isn’t enough FCSS money, then the town should top it off.
Peterman also noted most groups are suffering financially because their fundraising was curtailed during the pandemic.
Coun. Rob McDonald stated he was in favour of awarding more funds to BDSS because they have more programs to run.
McDonald stated after the pandemic is over the BYF may see an increase in activity and may then receive more funds, but the town should cross that bridge when they come to it.
Councillors unanimously approved two motions, to award $49,929 in FCSS funding to the BDSS and then to award $10,000 in FCSS funding to the BYF.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter