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Groups ask Banff for almost $600K

The library may have to cut staff and hours, the daycare and preschool are suffering from low enrolment and the local chorus, SPCA and volunteer centre are all looking for added help this year from Banff’s town council.

The library may have to cut staff and hours, the daycare and preschool are suffering from low enrolment and the local chorus, SPCA and volunteer centre are all looking for added help this year from Banff’s town council.

Affiliate groups were in front of local politicians on Monday (Nov. 21) to make funding requests totaling $596,769 as council begins deliberations for its 2012 operational budget.

Representatives of the Banff Public Library essentially requested that the library receive funding totalling $415,500 and not be required to pay back $14,000 for janitorial services the municipality provides.

The library indicated if the proposed 2011 budget amount of $380,000 is kept in the 2012 budget and the library charged back for janitorial, it may be forced to cut staff, hours and programming.

“We have discovered Banff Public Library is doing much more with much less than almost any library we can find,” said acting chair of the library board Barb Williams. “The Banff Public Library has experienced substantial erosion in Town funding since 2005.”

The group’s submission to council said all efficiencies have been made without reducing staff, hours or programming, but after funding a structural deficit since 2007, it can no longer continue.

In 2011, library funding was $371,200.

Head librarian Denise Drury said council should consider that Banff’s library has 2.5 times more visitors using it in addition to residents than any other in the province.

The Banff Day Care Society and the Banff Rundle Playschool asked for funding of $34,000 and $2,995 respectively.

Lisa Wenger with the daycare said the funds represent the same level of funding as last year. The request includes that council not require the group to begin paying back the Town for janitorial services in 2012 in the amount of $8,000.

Wenger said as a result of full-day kindergarten being offered at the elementary school, the daycare has seen enrolments, and thus revenues, drop.

“We are forced to increase fees and set targets high for fundraising and grants,” she said, adding to pay the cost of janitorial would be a hardship.

Erin MacArthur with the playschool asked for one-time funding to support improving several programs.

“We are asking for this one-time funding because it is a unique year for the playschool because our program is not full,” MacArthur said, adding increased space at the daycare and full-day kindergarten have resulted in decreased enrolments. “We do not request to receive ongoing funding from the town.”

John Goulart with Bow Valley Chorus also made a first-time request for a $6,000 grant to support the musical organization’s operating expenses.

“The last two fiscal years we have encountered a loss,” Goulart said. “We are looking for alternative means of income and fundraising.”

Joseph Potts with the Bow Valley SPCA requested council consider funding the non-profit service group $10,000 in 2012.

Potts said the SPCA takes all stray dogs and cats from Banff Bylaw Services and in 2010, 20 per cent of dogs and 10 per cent of cats were from Banff.

He said the SPCA offers several programs that benefit the Banff community including a free spay/neuter program for low income families and educational outreach in local schools.

However, the expense of caring for the animals exceeds income from adoptions and he said the group may not be able to continue taking all strays from Banff or continue its spay/neuter and educational programs at the same levels.

Peter Quinn with Bow Valley Victims Services requested $21,000 from Banff, the same amount it received last year.

“The premise really is people do better the quicker they can get help,” Quinn said, adding 40 per cent of the calls BVVS gets are Banff related.

Katherine Topolniski with the Banff Volunteer Centre requested the group see funding to the tune of $20,000 reinstated. Last year, the group received $10,000 after council expressed frustration with the centre’s lack of measurable results.

Topolniski said over the past year the group has built a new business model, website and has a new board.

“The $10,000 last year enabled us to keep our doors open and these transitions and shifts to be made,” she said, adding the Volunteer Centre was not able to operate at full capacity with lowered funding. “With full funding in 2012 we will be able to do that.”

Stuart Back, director of in-resort services for Banff Lake Louise Tourism, asked for increased support of $16,450, up 23 per cent from last year.

He said 10 per cent of that amount represents a winter event on a weekend in February.

The Calgary Region Airshed Zone asked for $0.10 per capita or $824 in funding to support its work in air quality monitoring.

The Banff Housing Corporation requested $70,000 to conduct a housing study in 2012.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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