Sturgeon County Mayor speaks of collaboration and rec funding

Sturgeon County Mayor Tom Flynn speaks to Rotarians at their weekly meeting Mar. 11

by Lucie Roy

Sturgeon County Council has been busy building relationships in the region according to Mayor Tom Flynn. The mayor was the guest of the Morinville Rotary Club Mar. 11 and began his presentation praising the service club for their own collaborative efforts.

“You have spent a lot of time in the last few years advocating for collaboration and cooperation in our communities to build the place we live in,” Flynn said. “This is work that needs to be done.”

Flynn said his Council is working hard on collaboration because they believe fully understanding their partners helps everyone move forward. “We meet a lot with [the]Town of Morinville, City of St. Albert, and the school boards,” he said. He finds his neighbours to be like regional councils that want to work together.

Flynn said he committed during the election to building better communities, ones with a strong community identity, spirit and pride. That is what his Council has been working towards.

“In a year we allocate somewhere over $800,000 annually to recreation, community groups, volunteers and annual support to seven community arenas and other recreational facilities,” Flynn told Rotarians. “That gets spread out in different fashions all throughout the community.”

Flynn said the County has been working with the towns to come up with a new recreation funding formula. “It is not an easy job to sort that out because we want to make sure that whatever we come up with is fair to all communities around us,” he said.

The current model uses a flat fee given to each of the towns as well as to fund arenas in Riviere Qui Barre and other locations.

Flynn said the new formula remains to be seen and could be a flat fee to everyone, something related to usage or a combination of usage and flat fee. “We are not sure where that is going to go,” he said. “Our challenge is to make sure it is fair to all of our communities.”

The mayor said he has been asked about the County’s anticipated tax revenue from industry a lot over the past couple of years and received plenty of lists of what to do with the monies.

Flynn said the Northwest refinery is being built right now and moving along fairly well. The mayor said there are currently up to 2000 people on site daily. He expects that number to double by this time next year. There are about 1800 to 2000 people on site each day and about this time next year about 4000 people per day on that site building. The plant is expected to be open and running in 2017.

“We have to plan for the future when those revenues show up, but we have to recognize exactly what the province is going through today,” he said. “They budgeted based on what might be and right now they are feeling some pain. So we have to think about that as we think about those future plans. If we budget on operational things or any of those revenues as we come forward, they may or may not be there, and industrial growth is like that.”