External agencies ask much of the city

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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Prince Albert Arts Board Chair Roxanne Dicke speaks with council at Monday’s budget committee meeting, during which she outlined a proposed shift in the way the board operates. 

It’ll all come down to the bottom line later this week, when city council will sift through the presentations made to them on Monday to weed out their financial implications.

 

During a Monday evening budget committee meeting, the city’s elected officials heard presentations by representatives from a number of external agencies the city funds, highlighting their 2014 budgetary requests.

Click HERE for the city's 2014 budget documents.

The meeting included a mass gathering of Prince Albert Arts Board members -- a group that plans on dividing itself into a handful of different budgetary entities.

“We’re just too large for one house,” board chair Roxanne Dicke explained early on. “We decided we all need our own homes.”

Although the Prince Albert Arts Board is requesting only $15,400 (meager compared with the $287,270 grant they received last year), the organization is separating into three separate budget items.

There’s the Prince Albert Arts Board, the Mann Art Gallery and Star Development Corporation -- an outside entity contracted to operate the E. A. Rawlinson Centre.

“The Prince Albert Arts Board would like to focus primarily on representing and bringing together the arts community in this city,” Dicke explained.

“We believe the day-to-day operations of this facility are most effective and best managed with a direct relationship between the City of Prince Albert and (Star Development Corporation).”

The financial impacts of this shift have yet to be publicly detailed, with the Star Development Corporation agreement unavailable in public documents to date, but Dicke assured council that this new configuration will be more cost-effective.

In 2012, the total city subsidy to the E. A. Rawlinson Centre and Mann Art Gallery was $469,710.

Typically, the Mann Art Gallery operates with the help of a Prince Albert Arts Board Grant of about $50,000.

This year, their request is $66,804 -- an amount that chairperson Annette Henbid said the organization wants to see grow every year until it reaches $150,000 by 2020.

Henbid argued that this would bring municipal funding more on par with similar galleries.

Due to the growing gap in Mann Art Gallery municipal funding compared with other institutions in the province, the Saskatchewan Arts Board will cut back on funding for the gallery this year, Henbid told council.

“We have recently had to lay off a permanent full-time member to ensure that the organization would maintain a healthy and viable financial condition,” she said.

“With a loss in employment, the gallery’s capacity will undoubtedly be severely reduced in future years.”

The following requests were also made at Monday’s meeting:

 

• The Prince Albert Historical Society is requesting $58,040 this year, which includes $9,570 above last year’s contribution to pay for a part-time office manager.

This amount makes up 77.3 per cent of the organization’s operating revenue.

 

• The John M. Cuelenaere Public Library is requesting a five per cent increase to its general operating budget, bringing it to $1,747,101.

They are also requesting a capital investment of $550,000 to pay for a long list of building improvements.

 

• The Prince Albert District Planning Commission is asking for $35,262 -- a 30 per cent decrease from 2013. Previously, the RMs of Buckland and Prince Albert contributed half of the commission’s cost, with the city covering the balance. A new configuration has all three parties each fund one-third of the cost.  

 

• The Community Service Centre wants salary and benefit increases of about $21,000. Staff are members of CUPE Local 2182 and are requesting the same cost of living increase as members of CUPE Local 160. There was no increase last year.

The salary and benefit increases make up about half of their requested funding jump, with various smaller increases dotting the balance.

 

• Prince Albert Tourism and Marketing wants to see a couple funding shortfalls covered this year, including $6,000 to cover summer staff to provide tours of the Rotary Museum of Police and Corrections and the Evolution of Education Museum.

Tour responsibilities for the two sites were shifted from the Prince Albert Historical Society to Prince Albert Tourism and Marketing last year, without funding to cover the expense.

 

The city’s elected officials mainly sat back and listened to the presentations made to them on Monday.

On Thursday and Friday, it will be city council’s turn to speak, during which they’re expected to make a significant majority of their budgetary decisions.

Thursday’s meeting will take place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday’s meeting will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Both meetings will take place in council chambers at city hall and will be open to the public. 

Organizations: Prince Albert Arts Board Grant, Mann Art Gallery and Star Development, E. A. Rawlinson Centre Prince Albert Saskatchewan Arts Board The Prince Albert Historical Society The John M. Cuelenaere Public Library The Prince Albert District Planning Commission The Community Service Centre Rotary Museum of Police and Corrections Education Museum

Geographic location: Prince Albert

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