Lacombe County council voted against supporting Parkland Regional Library’s (PRL) proposed two per cent increase for its $3.3 million 2017 budget.
Lacombe County’s membership fees for 2017 are $82,908, which represents about $8.04 per resident. Lacombe County’s membership fees were $7.88 per capita in 2016.
Eleven of the 17 member municipalities approved PRL’s proposed two per cent budget increase and six haven’t, Tim Timmons, Manager of Corporate Services told Lacombe County Council during its regular meeting Oct. 13.
Coun. Rod McDermand said he didn’t agree with the two per cent overall budget increase saying, “I struggle with this.”
Coun. Dana Kreil said, “Some (municipalities) are feeling that is too much. It’s been fairly debated.”
Council unanimously voted against PRL’s proposed budget increase and will advise PRL board that the county supports a zero per cent increase to the board’s per capita rate for its 2017 budget.
All member municipalities must vote on the budget and it takes two-thirds membership for the PRL budget to be approved. PRL serves 49 libraries across Central Alberta.
Avoids setting precedent
Lacombe County will get the message out to its ratepayers that they can help sponsor the Lacombe arena project but they want it made clear they aren’t driving the initiative.
The City of Lacombe sent out letters from the mayor to residents and businesses soliciting arena sponsorship and asked Lacombe County to do the same.
Coun. Brenda Knight said she would support the county notifying its residents of the opportunity but wouldn’t support a letter from the county promoting the sponsorship opportunities.
“This is a City of Lacombe fundraising initiative. The Clive Hall comes to my mind. Are we going to send letters out for the Clive Hall? We asked them (Clive Hall) to fundraise and I don’t see this as any different. I really don’t feel we should be sending solicitation letters to people.”
Likewise Coun. Keith Stephenson agreed.
“Sylvan Lake had a sponsorship committee that did this and I don’t think Lacombe County should get involved in this.”
Coun. Barb Shepherd said the suggestion of the county sending out letters stating, “Lacombe County invites you to become part of a really big deal by contributing to the renovations at the (Lacombe sportsplex)” was too bold.
“I feel like it is a little bit in your face.”
Coun. Ken Wigmore questioned the fairness of Lacombe County’s involvement.
“Are we going to get involved in fundraising with the rest of the communities when they want a project?”
He added that he’s not against the City of Lacombe canvassing Lacombe County residents for donations, but said he preferred to see the county’s support be limited to allowing the city to use the county to get information out to county residents.
“We support this but it’s the City of Lacombe that is canvassing for the money, not us.”
Coun. Wigmore added that if the county solicited for the city they could end up getting Blackfalds making similar requests.
Coun. Dana Kreil said if the county sent out letters on behalf of the city, this could open up requests from other arenas in the county.
Reeve Paula Law said the point is to let Lacombe County residents know that they can be a part of the arena sponsorship.
“They have an opportunity to donate if they wish. Yes it should be the city driving this.”
Lacombe County council agreed to support the city-driven initiative through the County News, on the Lacombe County website/social media, and by setting up a lobby display.