By Cole Parkinson
With a delegation to Municipal District of Taber council early in 2023, Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter was able to provide information on a variety of topics. M.D. council submitted a number of topics they wanted to discuss with Hunter and the MLA was able to provide some background information.
“I appreciate you sending me some of your concerns or some of the things you want me to talk about. It provides me and the ministries with a little more in-depth information,” said Hunter at their Jan. 24 meeting.
M.D. council inquired about funding for Family and Community Support Services. Hunter explained the current process for that funding from the government which includes a three-year model. Funding for local FCSS is an 80/20 split with 80 per cent coming from the Government of Alberta and 20 per cent from participating municipalities.
“Every year there is a three-year funding model, which I think is a good thing, but FCSS just started their new three-year model as of January 2023. So, we have a three-year funding model starting the first of January,” he said. “The one thing that is nice about FCSS is it is very community-led, that is the one thing about our municipalities more than anything. ‘Let us have the autonomy to be able to create the programs, what works in Calgary doesn’t work in the M.D. of Taber.’ The new funding model, however, was a little more prescriptive than in past times and if that’s your concern, it’s also my concern.”
“They have focused on five areas that are kind of provincial focuses and they’ve said, ‘look, yes you have the ability to create your own programs and delivery of these programs within your communities, but we want you to focus on these five broad areas.’ If that is a bit of a concern, unfortunately, we see this happen on a regular basis,” explained Hunter.
Looking at local FCSS, Hunter also stated the best ideas usually come from community members. He said those who live in the community almost always have the best ideas on how to better the area because they know what is needed.
“I’ve said this many times over the last eight years of being an MLA, I believe the best decision-making happens within communities and the reason why is because your constituents know where you live, they know your phone numbers and they will give you a call if you’re off track. When decisions are made in the province and in federal, it’s so far removed that people don’t even know really who to blame or get after,” he said. “That is kind of where they have moved to. If you have specifics that you’re concerned about with FCSS, you say, ‘look those five are just not broad enough, we need to be able to have more.’ Please provide that with me and I can provide that feedback and advocate for that with the province.”
Hunter also briefly touched on library funding.
“Municipal Affairs, the funding model they use for numbers is actually from 2016 numbers. I’m not sure if that has caused you a bit of consternation or not. I think it should and I’d like to go back to them to see if there are any updated numbers because I think that puts the M.D. of Taber around the 7,000 mark, which I believe is a lot higher than that six years later,” he said. “If that is your concern that it’s not up to date with the numbers, I actually agree and I will be speaking with Municipal Affairs if we have updated population numbers for that.”