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Carstairs council votes against proposed library budget

Council has concerns about how Parkland Regional Library System requisition determined

CARSTAIRS - Council has defeated a motion calling for approval of the proposed 2023 Parkland Regional Library System (PRLS) budget.

The move came during the Nov. 14 council meeting.

Coun. Shannon Wilcox is the town’s PRLS representative. She explained that the decision to reject the proposed budget is not related to the services provided by the system, but rather in the way requisitions are calculated.

“The budget was defeated last night (Nov. 14) primarily regarding concerns with the population numbers used for the requisitions,” Wilcox told the Albertan. “We would like to see the population figures used for requisitions to be the same as the population figures used by Municipal Affairs to fund municipalities.”

The Town of Carstairs is paying for about 700 persons that it is not funded for by Municipal Affairs, she said.

“We have seen this across (urban municipalities in) Mountain View County,” she said. “We are seeking to have the agreement amended, Clause 8.3, to be clear and to tie the funded population figures to the requisition population figures. “Parkland, as the clause reads now, can use Treasury Board or Municipal Affairs figures which leaves the agreement open to interpretation.  The nature of such an agreement is to be clear and concise, not open to interpretation.”

“I think by tying the population figures we are funded for to those we are requisitioned for only makes sense. I  hope the board will agree and that we are able to amend the agreement by next spring.”

Referring specifically to the proposed PRLS budget, Wilcox said, “Parkland budget 2023 notes they have not increased rates for three years. This is not transparent as using Treasury Board population numbers in 2022 resulted in an almost sixth thousand-dollar increase over using the Municipal Affairs population numbers.

"So yes, the requisition amount per capita did not rise but the population numbers did.”  

Parkland is providing good service to Carstairs residents, she said.

“There is great value in being part of a library system like Parkland, that is not under dispute,” she said.

“We can access services, technology, support etcetera that would otherwise be cost prohibitive if we were not part of a larger system.”

Dan Singleton

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