By Stephen Dafoe
Sturgeon County – County Council unanimously approved 2011 cost sharing allocations Thursday afternoon, funds to be distributed to Morinville, Bon Accord, Gibbons, Legal and Redwater. The cost sharing agreement between Sturgeon County and the five municipalities ensures and guarantees equal access for county residents to the various services, programs and recreational facilities offered by the municipalities.
Under the agreement, a total of $235,000 will be distributed to the five municipalities: $55,000 for Legal and $45,000 for each of the remaining four municipalities. Legal receives an additional $10,000 in funding because it is not part of a Northern Lights Library Service agreement Sturgeon County has entered into to provide funding to libraries in Morinville, Bon Accord, Gibbons, Redwater and Edmonton Garrison.
Municipalities receiving funding under the cost sharing agreements agree to provide services, programs and access to municipally-owned recreational facilities at the same fee structure that the municipality’s residents pay.
Participating municipalities will receive their funding in September. Council will give consideration to a three-year funding agreement that would cover 2012 to 2014 once administrative staff complete Sturgeon County’s Regional Recreation Master Plan.
Bon Accord Arena to receive further funding
Council also unanimously approved an additional $100,000 in funding through its Capital Agriculture / Recreational Facility (CARF) Development Grant for further renovations to the Bon Accord Arena. Sturgeon County had previously committed $150,000 to the facility in 2010 through the same grant program.
Community Cultural Centre funding remains tabled
While Morinville stands to receive $45,000 from Sturgeon County this year to help support its various recreational facilities, it will not be receiving a substantial Sturgeon County grant it applied for to help fund the Community Cultural Centre, at least not until it commits to charging Sturgeon County residents the same fees as it does its own.
Morinville had applied for $250,000 through Sturgeon County’s CARF program to help fund the $11 million facility. The motion to approve the funding request went before Sturgeon County Council at their Mar. 8 meeting; however, County Council tabled the motion until Morinville agreed to fee parity for county residents, as they do under existing cost sharing agreements for the arena and curling club.
That motion was on Sturgeon County Council’s agenda to come off the table Mar. 31, but remains tabled. Sturgeon County intends to request a letter from Morinville confirming long-term fee parity for Sturgeon County residents.
When establishing their fee structure for the new facility, Morinville Town Council had agreed to charge County residents the same fees as Morinville residents until June, at which point the policy would be reviewed with respect to just how much of a financial contribution Sturgeon County was prepared to make.