South Peace News
The High Prairie public library and museum could face reduced funding from town council in 2022.
It’s the word from the Town of High Prairie council as it deals with funding challenges.
Council discussed 2022 funding for the High Prairie Municipal Library and the High Prairie and District Museum and Historical Society at its regular meeting May 25.
“There is the possibility of budget cuts in 2022,” Mayor Brian Panasiuk says.
“We want to give them time to prepare.”
Council approved three questions CAO Rod Risling to present for the library and museum boards to discuss.
-What would be the result of the operations if the Town’s contribution was reduced by five per cent and 10 per cent?
-Do you have any anticipated operating budget increases forecast for the next three years?
-Do you have any anticipated capital expenditures forecast in the next few years? Will you require increased funding from the Town to meet those needs?
“These tough economic times are placing increased pressure on people, businesses, all levels of government and the organizations they fund,” Risling says.
“Unfortunately, municipalities, including the Town of High Prairie, have realized significant provincial grant reductions and have no additional revenue tools to offset these reductions.”
Councillor Brian Gilroy says the library board is already taking steps to deal with a proposed funding cut.
“We are planning to discuss this as a board next month,” says Gilroy, who represents council on the library board.
“We’re looking at what we can do with our reserves.”
He reminds council that a cut of five per cent will double to 10 under a cost-sharing agreement with Big Lakes County.
Risling notes a decision on the 2022 Town operating budget will come after local government elections in October, which could include new council members.
“However, it is clear from the Town’s budget perspective that tough decisions will need to be made to make up for provincial grant reductions and the loss in spending power due to inflation,” Risling says.
“Starting the fiscal reality discussion sooner than later provides administrative bodies with an opportunity to adjust the operations in a proactive manner rather than reactive.”
At its meeting May 11, council passed a motion to meet with the board and administration to learn more about the services and budget and the impacts to reduce municipal funding.
However, council chose a different direction.