Lacombe County helps fund Moonwalkers’ deficit

Lacombe County council will give Moonwalkers one-time funding of $5,000 for its 2015 operating deficit.

In December, Village of Alix asked the county to help fund its $120,000 operating deficit but at its January meeting county council deferred the item until they got more details on how many users are from Lacombe County and five-year revenue and expenditure projection.

Coun. Brenda Knight was stern regarding the funding saying the amount is small with no ongoing support in upcoming years.

“The $5000 is in recognition of the County children using the facility and that will not change,” said Coun. Knight. “Moonwalkers is an anomaly.”

Lacombe County Manager of Corporate Services Tim Timmons, told council that Moonwalkers claimed, from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2015, 41 per cent of its users were from Lacombe County.

Village of Alix Recreation Coordinator CoraLee Brookes told Lacombe County that 3,025 paid users came from Alix, Tees, Clive and Bentley, 727 from Blackfalds, 1,004 from Lacombe, and 792 from Mirror and area.

But since the residency was based on postal codes the information doesn’t accurately reflect the specific municipality each user resides, said Timmons, who added that county administration believes the number of county users would be closer to 10 per cent.

Brookes also provided Lacombe County with Moonwalkers’ projected deficit for the next five years; 2016 – $109,555; 2017 – $100,757; 2018 – $91,971; 2019 – $83,197; and 2020 – $74,435.

Coun. Rod McDermand said he believes there are two “camps” in Alix; those in favour of funding Moonwalkers and those against.

“There’s a political arm that opposes (funding) it (Moonwalkers),” said Coun. McDermand.

Coun. Ken Wigmore re-iterated that Moonwalkers was built as part of a commercial business incubator project, adding, typically the county doesn’t get involved in these. In 2012 Alix came up with the idea of a community activity centre plus business incubator project. The project is a private-public partnership between the Village of Alix and Creative Infrastructure from Wetaskiwin.

In addition, Coun. Wigmore said Moonwalkers may not survive.

“I think Moonwalkers will struggle in the future to even stay open.”

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