Castor council ponders summer student quandary

Questions around summer student grants remain

Town of Castor council found out during their regular meeting Feb. 24 that questions still remain around grant funding for summer student positions.

Councillors heard a report from Chief Administrative Officer(CAO) Christopher Robblee that the municipality requires $30,000 in grant funding to cover two full or four parttime summer student positions. If the town doesn’t receive that much in funding, then, Robblee said, councillors will face a decision.

The options facing council over the funding included full grants, meaning they receive the $30,000, partial, meaning they receive part of the $30,000 but not all of it, none, meaning the grants weren’t received at all and, lastly, a tax increase to cover the summer student funding. It was stated at the meeting a one per cent tax increase would be needed to cover the funding.

Councillors were given a presentation by staff on what duties summer students cover, which is considerable.

Summer students work as lifeguards at the swimming pool, perform upkeep and maintenance at the ball diamonds, water plants around town, spray weeds, paint handicap spaces and curbs and tree trimming, among many other duties.

It was noted that if no summer students are available, town staff will have to add the seasonal work such as cutting grass to their regular workload.

Robblee noted some jobs, like crackfilling on paved roads, must be performed as liability is involved; this means other jobs, such as grass cutting, could be bumped down the priority list.

The CAO said the town won’t know until about May whether grants were approved, which is frustrating because the jobs are usually advertised beginning in March.

He said the report was mostly for council to keep in mind, as reduced funding for summer student positions will mean lower service levels this summer.

 

Stu Salkeld

Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.

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