County urged to review funding

It’s time Red Deer County took a look at how it funds community projects, said a councillor on Tuesday.

It’s time Red Deer County took a look at how it funds community projects, said a councillor on Tuesday.

The issue came up as council reviewed a $300,000 Chinook’s Edge School Division request to help expand an Innisfail Junior Senior High School gymnasium to create a recreational facility that could be used by the public.

Councillor Reimar Poth supported funding the school project, but he wondered if the county should develop a set of guidelines on how other requests should be dealt with to provide consistency.

For instance, the county contributed $100,000 to the $23-million Penhold recreation and cultural centre project opened last month.

Councillor George Gehrke was skeptical that a formula could be worked out to outline how much funding projects should get because there are too many variables.

One community may need more help to develop an expensive facility than other areas of the county. But at the same time, the facility provides a benefit to the whole municipality.

Councillor David Hoar said some direction on dealing with funding requests would be helpful.

“I think we need some guidelines on how we are contributing to the different projects. Personally, I don’t think it’s something you could write a mathematical formula for and come up with a specific fund for a specific project in a specific community.”

Mayor Earl Kinsella, who is not running in the next election, said the new council will need to look at how funding requests will be handled.

“There is a limit to how much you can support. So council needs to have a discussion to get a clear vision of how much they’re going to support, how much can the taxpayer afford to support.”

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