Red Deer County boosts recreation funding for city

County to provide more than $800,000 a year in recreational funding in five-year deal

Red Deer County has more than doubled the amount it gives the City of Red Deer for the use of recreational facilities by rural residents.

Under a new recreation agreement approved by county council Tuesday, the county will pay the city $828,490 per year over the next three years. That will be bumped up to $893,820 for the last two years of the five-year agreement that runs through 2024.

The county paid the city $285,612 under the last agreement.

Under the new deal, the county provides a base grant of $200,000 and $30 per capita for three years, and $40 per capita for two years.

As well, contributions will be made for the upkeep of specific facilities, such as arenas, pools, outdoor fields and skateboard parks. Those contributions total $432,500 per year.

All of the money is earmarked for maintenance. If the city wants money for capital funding to build or refurbish facilities, those requests will be reviewed individually.

The county has been contributing to the city’s recreation costs through various agreements since the late 1990s. The deal recognizes that county residents frequently use city facilities, but do not support them through their taxes.

Signing recreation agreements allows county residents to pay the same program and admission fees as city residents, rather than having a separate fee scale for out-of-town users.

“The money ensures county residents continue to have access to recreation and culture programs, services and facilities in Red Deer, without an additional charge or levy over and above what Red Deer residents pay,” said city recreation, parks and culture manager Shelley Gagnon.

County community services manager Jo-Ann Symington says the agreement “acknowledges the reciprocal role that both rural and urban municipalities play in the provision and support of regional recreation and culture services.

“Through these agreements, county residents can access recreation and culture services without additional costs due to their location.”

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