The Town of Stettler committed to including three social or community organizations in their 2023 budget after presentations were made at the Dec. 6 regular meeting of council.
Stettler and District FCSS Executive Director Shelley Walker presented the organization’s budget request to council; readers may know that FCSS is a split funding department, with 20 per cent coming from municipalities and 80 per cent coming from the provincial government.
Walker pointed out Stettler FCSS will continue to fundraise and apply for its own grants too.
Walker noted the Stettler FCSS was requesting the same grant amount as last year, which has remained consistent since 2015; she noted the past few years have been a struggle for the organization.
Walker stated Stettler FCSS had a lot of new stuff on the go this year and some new partnerships as well, including the rural mental health project that includes one facilitator with hopes for another facilitator soon.
Other FCSS achievements in 2022 included a community resource fair, senior employment fair, seniors week events and senior engagement projects that include FCSS visiting local lodges for presentations.
Last year Walker reported Stettler FCSS had over 15,000 clients with 18,000 services provided.
Coun. Scott Pfeiffer asked Walker to explain the volunteer driver program. Walker explained this is a pilot program that recruits volunteer drivers who are reimbursed for their milage who transport applicants who may not have any other means of travel. Walker stated it’s proven popular and could possibly launch as a full program in 2023.
Pfeiffer also pointed out Stettler FCSS picked up a lot of slack when various government offices, including Alberta Works, closed during the COVID pandemic.
Walker confirmed that FCSS continues to do so while noting that some people have trouble navigating the Alberta Works application process, describing it as “too complicated” for some people.
Councillors unanimously agreed to include a request of $39,287 from Stettler FCSS in the Town of Stettler 2023 budgeting process.
Town council agreed to grant $251,766 to the Stettler Public Library after hearing a presentation by Library Manager Rhonda O’Neill and board chair Jane Skocdopole. The amount was up by roughy $1,500 from last year.
O’Neill began her presentation by thanking the town for its support over the past three years which the library manager described as “a little weird.” She added that the public library offered 434 programs this year plus refreshed the children’s area in 2022 with some ergonomic improvements.
The library manager noted a new program offered this fall was Minds in Motion which paired physical and mental activity for those suffering mental decline.
Since the library is located within the Stettler Rec Centre (SRC) Minds in Motion also enjoyed skilled SRC fitness staff for the program. Eight families were registered in the program and O’Neill was hoping it returns in 2023.
The library manager stated she encouraged staff training where possible but costs and expenses were definitely up in 2022, including insurance.
Coun. Wayne Smith stated he was impressed by the library’s innovation as it always seems to offer something new.
Councillors unanimously agreed to include the Stettler Public Library’s request in 2023 budget deliberations.
Town and Country Museum
Stettler town council read a letter from the Stettler Town and Country Museum which requested $35,000 as its annual financial support, up $1,000 from last year.
“The volunteer museum board continues to do a fantastic job in operating, maintaining and enhancing the museum site,” stated the agenda memo by Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Steven Gerlitz.
The memo noted the Town and Country Museum’s request has been consistent since 2018. A letter from the museum stated the facility benefits from tourists from other parts of Alberta.
The letter included the activities and achievements of a busy museum in 2022, including regular change of displays, community partnering on events such as Canada Day, fundraisers like Light the Night and the Boo-seum that together raised about $25,000; and much more.
Coun. Travis Randell explained that the $1,000 increase was to help the museum cope with inflation. He added that the museum is looking at new grants and fundraising but that some activities are being put off right now because of high costs.
Mayor Sean Nolls stated the Town and Country Museum does a fantastic job of fundraising.
Councillors unanimously agreed to forward the museum’s request directly to the 2023 budget deliberations.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter