Mountain View County Council and administration have been fielding questions from the public on the County’s intentions regarding capital funding for recreation and culture facilities within our urban partner municipalities.
Historically, County Council has considered Capital Recreation Projects once they are presented by one of the urban partners or a not-for-profit organization. Recent examples of this include the skatepark project in Carstairs and the splash park in Olds.
To bring more predictability about potential recreation capital requests in the coming years, Council and administration have come up with a two-pronged approach:
1. Starting with the 2018 Operating Budget, a reserve fund called the ‘Intermunicipal Collaboration Capital Reserve’ has been established to annually dedicate 9 per cent of net tax revenues available for municipal purposes towards recreation and library funding for the four towns and one village within the County boundaries.
The priority of this funding plan is to cover the County’s share of annual recreation and library operating and capital maintenance obligations as required in the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework Agreements with each urban partner. The remaining funds will be put into the Intermunicipal Collaboration Capital Reserve to fund capital projects approved by Council.
Proposed Intermunicipal Collaboration Capital Reserve funding for the 2018 Operating Budget is $497,033. The total budget commitment to recreation and library for 2018 including operating, capital maintenance, and reserves is $2.6 million.
2. In addition to reserve funding, the development of a 5-year recreation capital project plan integrating submissions from each urban partner as to their priorities has been proposed.
The 5-year plan would allow Council opportunity to plan for these potential capital costs, and to work with the urban partners to develop a funding strategy that weighs the needs of all the municipalities that the County partners with. One current project County Council has been asked to consider contributing capital funding towards is the Rotary Athletic Park in Olds. This project illustrates the need to have a multi-year capital plan in place to ensure Council can prioritize all recreation capital projects county-wide.
According to County Policy, a capital project is defined as “construction of, or a major addition, or renovation to infrastructure and buildings within an urban municipality for which the use is supported by rural residents and is determined by the Intermunicipal Collaboration Committee to be a benefit to the entire community.”
Approval of any capital project proposed under this reserve fund is at the sole discretion of Mountain View County Council. Key to Council’s decision-making process is the need to balance the library and recreation capital needs of all five partner municipalities, and to balance tax revenues, thus the funding plan tying a percentage to municipal revenue.
In the past two years Mountain View County has seen its linear and machinery and equipment taxation decline from almost 67 per cent of total tax revenues to just over 60 per cent of total tax revenues.
Council will begin budget deliberations for 2019 in September of 2018, however, that does not preclude Council from considering recreation capital funding requests before that date.