By Cole Parkinson
Westwind Weekly News
Chinook Arch Regional Library System has sent municipalities a new levy for 2023-2026. While they are proposing a 1.5 per cent increase, this is following a five per cent reduction in 2021 amidst the pandemic.
The Municipal District of Taber reviewed the request during their special meeting on Nov. 7. It was explained further in-depth to councillors.
“So, Chinook Arch Library Board forwarded their forecasted set levies for the next four years through to 2026 and they are looking for resolutions from the member municipalities to approve. End of November is the deadline — we figured given that we’re having a special council meeting, we might as well deal with it sooner rather than later,” stated CAO Arlos Crofts.
“We are Chinook Arch Library members and in order for Chinook Arch to operate, they received some funding from the province and then a municipal levy,” added Deputy Reeve Tamara Miyanaga. “This provides a robust amount of services to our member libraries in the M.D. and it allows us to make sure our residents can access services online and in-person, from education to entertainment.”
With a small increase to the levy, a question was asked about the rise.
“This brings us more in line with other municipalities with their levies to their library organizations?” asked Coun. John DeGroot.
“No, that is not correct, Councillor DeGroot,” replied Miyanaga. “This is strictly the Chinook Arch Library levy and so there’s two separate library funding models that we operate. M.D. Library Board, we make an approval of the amount we distribute to our member libraries — this is strictly to ensure our member libraries and residents have access to Chinook Arch services. They serve 41 member libraries and they are the backbone and the support of our local libraries.”
It was also asked if they had an exact financial cost for the levy.
“What does this levy cost a municipality? Is it $20,000, is it $50,000, or is it $100,000?” asked Reeve Merrill Harris.
“The actual dollar amount, I don’t have it in here — I can look it up and share — but from a budgetary perspective, the dollar value really isn’t changing much from what the M.D. of Taber is used to,” replied Crofts.
It was also pointed out that when council gets a look at the new budget, they will be able to see what the cost is.
“We will also have an opportunity to understand the budget demands once we start going through line items and departments, but this levy change is to ensure Chinook Arch Library can continue their services,” said Miyanaga. “They require two-thirds of councils representing two-thirds of the total member population to approve the levy as presented. Chinook Arch when they did the reduction, it was because of the strain of COVID and the economy, and now they are trying to maintain a much lower than inflation increase by finding other efficiencies in their operation, but still deliver a high-quality service.”
A motion to approve the Chinook Arch Library Board 2023-2026 municipal levy schedule, as presented