By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
Bashaw town council approved the 2023 public library budget that included a $500 increase. The decision was made at the Dec. 21 regular meeting of council.
Chief administrative officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller presented councillors with the proposed 2023 Bashaw Municipal Library budget that identified revenue from the County of Camrose, Parkland Regional Libraries, provincial funds and the town, boosted by revenue from membership fees and fundraising.
It was noted in the proposed budget that the town was requested to provide a grant of $8,500, but during discussion Fuller stated that had been revised and the public library was requesting $9,000, a $500 increase.
During discussion it was stated that the municipal library saw a decrease in funding from the county, down about $3,000.
It was noted the municipal library, like virtually all organizations, was seeing the effect of inflation on its operation and the library’s budget was described at the council meeting as “quite tight.”
Fuller noted that the municipal library has tried over the past few years to make up any deficit through fundraising while adding that approach is frowned upon as libraries apparently aren’t supposed to do their own fundraising; rather, a “Friends of the Library” nonprofit society is supposed to handle that.
The library’s fundraising efforts were further hampered by the COVID pandemic. Additionally, the library suspects its rent may also be increased for 2023 but the increase would have to include a six month notice so it could be included in the budgeting process.
Fuller said the library’s 2023 budget was balanced but included $6,000 in revenue from fundraising that is to be conducted.
Councillors unanimously accepted the 2023 municipal library budget as information.
Fire services coordinator
Council agreed to request a meeting with the Camrose Regional Emergency Management Liaison committee to discuss the future of the regional fire services coordinator.
The CAO noted in a memo that the position works for a number of nearby municipalities.
“This was started in 2013. The original agreement references opportunity for review of ongoing relevancy, necessity and/or emergent issues,” stated Fuller’s memo.
“The agreement was to be jointly reviewed by the committee. The Town of Bashaw contributes around $1,500 annually to this position.”
She noted the regional position was a way of ensuring the town had a fire safety codes officer who could submit reports to the fire commissioner’s office.
Other partners in the program include County of Camrose, Village of Bawlf, Village of Hay Lakes and Village of Rosalind. It was noted at the meeting two other members have since left this program.
Coun. Bryan Gust said this position likely helps with handling substantial administrative duties for fire departments, adding not everybody at the fire hall is trained to file those reports.
The CAO pointed out some of the billing Bashaw has received included “investigation” and “administration,” and that she couldn’t find any reference to those responsibilities in the original agreement.
Councillors unanimously agreed to issue an invitation to meet to review the agreement.
Councillors heard a request from the Bashaw Historical Society which would like to place a mural on one of the town’s utility lift stations.
Fuller stated town staff had no concerns with the request. Councillors unanimously approved the request.