by Colin Smith
Two of Morinville’s major cultural facilities have put in their 2022 funding requests in anticipation of municipal budget deliberations.
Representatives of both the Morinville Community Library and the Musée Morinville Museum made budget presentations to Town Council at its Nov. 23 regular meeting.
Town of Morinville Library Board trustee Linda Ladouceur told Council the library is seeking a funding increase of $73,276 over the 2020 allocation, for a total of $567, 181.
That request includes $25,000 in funding that the library formerly received annually from Sturgeon County. As a result of the new recreation cost-sharing agreement, that money now goes to the town rather than directly to the library.
Ladouceur pointed out that payroll makes up more than 80 per cent of library costs.
Of the requested increase, 39 per cent relates to salaries and wages.
That includes a 2 per cent COLA increase to staff wages, which according to Ladouceur are below industry standards for Alberta libraries.
It also includes an increase to some staff wages to account for an increase in their steps as set out in the library’s salary and wages grid.
“Right now we couldn’t have better staff at the library,” said Ladouceur. “We have a group that through COVID has shown an ambition greater than I would have ever expected. We are very fortunate and we would really like to retain these people.”
She said another 40 per cent of the increase is related to lost revenue over the course of the pandemic, the result of library closures in 2020 and 2021. This includes lower card fees revenue, and a reduction in late fees and printing revenue.
Costs associated with moving finances and payroll to the Town of Morinville Library Board, increased marketing and advertising costs associated with library programs, as well as office equipment account for the 21 per cent of the increase.
In 2021, the library’s funding request dropped by $60,000, as the library board drew on staff wages savings realized from 2020 temporary layoffs and pandemic closures.
The 2022 funding request for the Musée Morinville Museum remains the same as last year at $107,000.
The museum’s projected 2020 budget includes $113,062 in revenue, including $107,000 from the Town of Morinville and $4,862 in casino funds.
Projected expenditures total $114,448, with rent being the largest expenditure at $58,348, followed by wages, $31,014.
The $1,386 budget deficit next year follows surpluses in 2020, when the museum was closed for six months, and 2021, during which it was closed for seven months.
Murray Knight, treasurer of the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society, which operates the museum, noted during his presentation to Council that as a charitable organization the society can issue tax receipts for donations. The society is scheduled to have its next casino in late 2023.