By Morinville News Staff
Sturgeon County – County Council may have a few more dollars at their disposal for public relations, but just how much or where it will come from will be decided at a later date. Council voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to table discussion of an Enhanced Public Relations Budget for Council until their next meeting.
Councillors had $750 at their disposal for public relations in the 2011 budget, $1,800 for the mayor. Additionally, Council as a whole had a common PR budget of $11,350. During 2012 budget talks, Council opted to reduce their PR budget along with Council travel, training and conferences for the year in order to minimize the impact on County rate payers.
However, 2012 Resident Satisfaction Survey results indicated County residents want more interaction and contact with Council members. In order to provide that increased interaction, it is believed additional dollars are needed to cover advertising, meeting room rentals and other discretionary items for the remainder of 2012. Calli Stromner, Sturgeon County’s communication’s manager, said Council’s common budget of $5,000 for 2012 had been exhausted as of Mar. 31, and that at least one individual budget had exceeded its limit already.
Councillor Don McGeachy urged caution in adding to Council’s PR budget. “I agree we were perhaps a little short sited in the amount we cut out of the budget,” McGeachy said of the funds councillors allotted for public relations this year. The councillor he was supportive of expanding the monies available, but did not want to reopen the budget to deal with it. McGeachy advocated dealing with the further PR funding needs of Council on a case-by-case basis.
The PR matter will be discussed at the June 26 meeting of Sturgeon County Council.