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Concerns brought forward around M.D. recreation funding

Posted on July 29, 2021 by Vauxhall Advance

By Cole Parkinson
Vauxhall Advance

After the Municipal District of Taber announced their recreation funding earlier this summer, town council raised a few concerns with the process.

At their regular meeting held on July 19, Mayor Margaret Plumtree brought forward a few issues she saw with the M.D.’s recreation funding.

“Our concern was with the wording a little bit because they refer to a policy and Cris (Burns, CAO) is telling me the policy is a policy the M.D. did. The policy states all these amounts, but when you go to our ICF (Inter-municipal Collaboration Framework), it doesn’t state such. My concern is approving this like this because when we did the ICF, we talked about the M.D. and if they wanted to earmark where the money went — they did not want to at that time.”

The M.D. provided $118,099.79 and an additional $2,800.21 to match the agreed-upon amount within the ICF.

“When you look at the letter we received, it says $118,099.79 and they are giving us an extra $2,800.21. So perception from the community who reads this, it looks like the M.D. is giving us more money, but according to the ICF, there is no breakdown of the money,” continued Plumtree.

“And the $120,900 is actually what they are supposed to say. I’m concerned about perception and I’m concerned about changing anything with the ICF because that is the agreement, and in the agreement, things are not broken down. I would like to get clarification,” said Plumtree.

Within the M.D. of Taber’s policy, each recreation facility is separated based on a points system. In Vauxhall, the recreation facilities listed by the M.D. are the arena (12,000 points), curling rink (7,000), community hall (2,000, senior’s hall (100), swimming pool (3,000), ball diamonds (200), playgrounds (300), tennis court (100), craft room (100), picnic ground (100), and walking path (100).

“It’s the fine line stuff and I don’t want the next council to have problems if we don’t go after this. Basically, if we approve it and accept it as they do in the letter, we are disregarding the ICF and how ICF negotiations are supposed to happen and we are approving what they have done with their policy. So, moving forward we are accepting this change without actually going through the committee that is supposed to deal with ICF changes,” added Plumtree.

Despite the concern brought forward, it was pointed out the town was still getting the same amount of recreation funding. While the town’s facilities graded lower than the amount in the IFC, it was pointed out they M.D. still covered the shortfall.

“There’s potentially a downside to (changing the ICF) because they acknowledge in here that the ICF says there is this much money. I don’t know that they are overstepping their authority to have their own policy on how they want to divvy out recreation funding depending on different things, as long as they respect the total of the ICF, which is what they’ve done,” stated Coun. Richard Phillips.

Others agreed with Phillips’ assessment.

“I agree with Richard. However they want to cut the cake is their business and I don’t care how they present that to the public as long as it doesn’t interfere with the ICF. By acknowledging their letter, we aren’t accepting it. We’re simply acknowledging it is their formula,” added Deputy Mayor Ray Coad.

A motion to send a letter to the M.D. of Taber for further clarification was carried unanimously by council.

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