County commits to cost sharing but cultural centre funding in limbo

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.

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4 Comments

  1. I can not believe that Sturgeon County residents are not prepared to pay their fair share.
    I know them to be hard working, proud people.

    BUT,

    Your council continues to under fund their share on your behalf.

    Stats captured by Morinville on the percent of usage attributed to the county and its residents are about 33% across the board. For the ice rink, curling rink, ball fields etc.

    It is therefore clear that the Community Cultural Center will see the same amount of usage by county residents.

    IT’S TIME TO PAY YOUR SHARE!!! On both the operating costs and the capital costs.

    The 45k that the town stands to receive probably does not even cover 33% of the operating cost of the arena, let alone all the other recreation facilities that the payment is intended to cover.

    A two tiered payment system is both fair and just when it comes to the Cultural Center. Morinville taxes are not intended to subsidize County rate payers so that their council can keep their taxes low.

    The other towns within the county are in the same boat when it comes to funding from the county. (This is also a province wide problem between counties and towns)

    It’s pretty simple to me.

    Pay your share, pay the same rate.

    I do not want my council to move on this issue.

  2. Unlike the former counselor (Joe Gosselin), I feel that any agreements with the other Towns should of been well in place prior to the construction of this Centre. Morinville took on the task of building and operating such a facility, apparently with lack of concern not only for its own residents but also with potential outside users.
    There seems to be very little “Culturally” to this Centre, more a Commercial Enterprise if anything. This leaves me wondering, will there be any kind of profit sharing involved once this place is paid off?
    And I wonder if charging a separate rate for non-Morinville residence might set off a rate war between the other towns, having them re-evaluating their rates for when we visit.

    Tim Stirling

  3. Yes, we Sturgeon County residents are hard working and proud of what we have. That I’ll agree.

    BUT,

    We’re stripped of our property enjoyment by your Mayor and council’s decisions. Your mayor acts first then asks questions later.

    ITS TIME FOR MORINVILLE TO REALIZE HOW MUCH STURGEON RESIDENTS DO SUPPORT THE BUSINESSES IN MORINVILLE!!!!! I now purchase my groceries, library cards, hardware store items, hair cuts, pharmacy items, massages, etc….IN ST. ALBERT AND EDMONTON. That I will inform you is of a little over $12,000 per year. All because of the inappropriate way REAL issues are being dealt with by your Mayor and a some of the council members.

    Continuation of dividing the county and town as opposed to accepting the county’s residents presence in YOUR town as great benefit to those WONDERFUL businesses and facilities, is only self sabbotage. So go ahead with the two tier payment system and see where that gets the town. The County’s taxes are not intended to spill out into every single expectation of the surrounding towns.

    Its pretty simple to me too.

    Get too greedy and expect more than entitled, and the disinigration will start.

    I stand with my council on this non-issue. Stop going to the well, dig your own and do so with the right people doing the work.

  4. Dear Lisa,

    I am so happy to know that you are taking your frustrations out with the Morinville Town Council by punishing the many small and locally owned Morinville businesses. I’m glad your money is going to support the many corporate stores in St.Albert & Edmonton, who so clearly need it more than those oh-so-very well off folks of Morinville.

    In case you didn’t realize, I’m being sarcastic. I didn’t know that all the businesses in Morinville pull the puppet strings of the Mayor and the Councillors. (Actually, I was unaware that they had puppet strings at all!)

    Don’t you go thinking that you acting like a three-year old in a tantrum is going to have any affect on me. I have lots of experience dealing with children…

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