The Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville Council approved a new process for Community Halls to report annual operating expenditures. The process includes halls reporting back to Council on what the operating grants for the year were use on. The intent is for Council to use this financial information during the 2017 budget deliberations to assess whether or not the $25,000 Annual Operating Grant is sufficient.
“I think this is going to be a learn-as-you-go,” Reeve for the MD Ed Rondeau explains, “what we’re really trying to do is figure out what they need in order to run good halls. So it’s difficult, because the way we were doing it in the past, it’s not that it’s unfair, but there’s some halls that don’t do anything, but take the community grant and that’s what they operate on. There’s other halls that take the operating grant and do lots of stuff; in some cases they’ve even said, ‘we don’t really need it’. ”
We want to be fair to everybody and this technique to find out what their operating costs are, makes a lot of sense. – Ed Rondeau Reeve for the MD of Bonnyville.
Community halls use the operating grant to pay for utilities, supplies, repairs and maintenance under $5,000 and small tools and equipment. Grant money is not to be used for paying board members, travel or gifts for board members. “By doing this [reporting process] one year at a time it’ll give us a chance to streamline it, improve it, and come up with something really good,” says the Reeve.
As it is, every hall gets $25,000 a year, excluding a few smaller communities which don’t have a hall and those communities get $5,000 for other recreational uses. At the most recent Council meeting, the MD Council passed motions for the 2016 grant funding; which included: Riverhurst and Flat Lake Community Halls and the Eastbourne Community Club received their $25,000 annual Operating Grants. The Cold Lake Agricultural Society received its $20,000 annual Operating Grant.