By Trevor Busch
Town council has denied two requests for financial assistance — one from a school principal, the other from a related community organization — on grounds that it shouldn’t be contributing its tax dollars to school divisions that already tax residents for their own budgets.
Multiple requests have been made regarding upgrades and funding availability from council to provide for infrastructure, such as playgrounds and landscaping, by supply of either funding directly or in-kind materials and labour.
In late April, council tabled a decision on participation in the St. Patrick School Modernization Project to a future meeting until the town could meet with the M.D. of Taber. The project request entailed potentially paving a portion of the school’s bus loop.
“St. Pat’s looks really nice, but in the same breath, when the Town of Taber is doing improvements to our facilities or our properties, we don’t go to Horizon (School Division) or the separate school board (Holy Spirit Catholic School Division) and ask them to participate,” said Coun. Louie Tams at council’s Sept. 10 regular meeting. “I don’t think that we should be, as a council, giving money to a school division for them to fix their building and their property and their parking lot, when we have the taxpayers of the Town of Taber — that we must look after — I don’t think it is proper for us to be giving money to a school. They are funded through taxes like everybody else. I think they need to manage their budgets without us helping them.”
The cost of the proposed enhancements is expected to top $175,000, including ground preparation, pavement (1710 square metres), concrete curbs and sidewalks, and ground beautification. It was indicated the province was prepared to provide new grading, gravel, parking power pedestals and light standards.
At the same meeting in April, council accepted a presentation from the Friends of Taber Central School Community Association regarding a Playground Enhancement Project, and tabled any decision on the extent to which they were willing to support this project until the determination of a final figure was supplied, and after the town met with the M.D. of Taber.
Town council met with M.D. of Taber council on June 21 to discuss the requests.
“The Town of Taber has many public parks that we have to look after, that need to be upgraded,” said Coun. Jack Brewin. “I think it’s another government asking another government agency for money, I don’t agree with that. I think it’s a Horizon School Board issue. I think we have our own playgrounds in town to look after.”
Following discussion, council voted unanimously to deny the requests of both organizations for financial assistance from the town.