Heartland Youth Centre budget boosted

Winnie Bissett, Director of the Heartland Youth Centre (HYC) along with other members of the organization were in attendance to present council with the current state of affairs on Tues. Nov. 20.

The centre used to apply for Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) funding but that line of funding has since changed in the past.

Council, at the time, found it appropriate to provide an annual sustainability amount to help keep them afloat which made for a one per cent tax increase.

The amount of $40,000 has been given to the HYC ever since. Now, the facility is facing more challenges where their savings account has been dwindling due to operating costs which the account was not intended for.

Bissett asked council to consider raising their typical amount of $40,000 to $50,000 for the next few years as costs continue to rise.

CAO Greg Switenky has mentioned that the interim budget already includes this new price and found it doable to incorporate.

The HYC is committed to looking at more fundraising options but the increase in revenue would help ‘bridge that gap’.

Two youth that have grown since participating in the Heartland Youth Centre gave detailed presentations on their experiences with the organization, highlighting the benefits of the organization and the level of authenticity it brings to the community.

HYC was also seeking more male mentors to join the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program which the Stettler Lightning Hockey team stepped up to the plate.

Council made a motion to accept the $10,000 increase in funding to support the organization.

Handi-Bus Society Budget

The Handi-Bus Society is no stranger to the highs and lows of ridership in the area.

They currently charge $10 per ride for seniors and feel that increasing this rate would affect ridership greatly as seniors are typically on a fixed income.

A casino is scheduled for February which they budget a minimum of $10,000 made from it although amounts are typically higher at the $24,000 range.

Last year, town funding was increased from $20,000 to $25,000.

This year, they requested the same amount.

The society is ‘holding our own’ but they continue to fundraise for a new bus as their fleet depreciates.

Every six months, the buses are taken to Edgerton as the man who used to service the buses in Red Deer has retired. This has added many extra kilometres to the vehicles.

There are still roughly 100 medical trips per year. Many people with special needs require trips to urban centres as most specialized services remain in these areas.

Council accepted the recommendation to fund the Handibus Society with $25,000.

Business License Fees and Business tax bylaw

Each year, council must set the Business license tax fees for the upcoming year.

As of the meeting, administration found 43 businesses were on the tax roll which has been consistent for the past three years. This tax brings in $6,450 in revenue for the town on an annual basis.

The last time this fee was increased was in 2013 when it jumped from $125 to $150.

Council moved all three readings of the bylaw, enacting it with zero changes added.

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