After a meeting between council and the board members of several community partners, which the town helps support, one councillor asked what the costs were to the municipality during the June 13 council meeting.
The town supports both the Castor Public Library and Paintearth Adult Learning by providing a space on Main Street next to the town office.
Castor pays for utilities for both organizations, as well as general building maintenance.
A third organization, Castor Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) recently moved out of the town office and into the former Golden Circle building at a subsidized rental rate.
Chief administrative officer Christopher Robblee did not have a breakdown of costs but said it is something he can work on.
“I’ve talked to numerous people. Everyone wants to know what these services cost the town per year,” Coun. Cecil Yates stated during the meeting.
One proposal that was floated to try and save the town some money was to have the library and adult learning move into the floor curling space at the Golden Circle building.
The town called a meeting between the boards of all partners to pitch the idea where council found there was little support.
“FCSS had concern about floor curling and where it would go if it is not in there,” Robblee.
“They would also refuse to do the cleaning of the building if we go that route.”
Coun. Yates was concerned that so much space was being dedicated for a game so few play.
“You’re tying up 2,000 square-feet (of space) for 20 people?” Yates asked.
Coun. Trudy Kilner didn’t agree that the three organizations should be merged as the costs would be “more in the long run.” However, Kilner also stated her opinion that the organizations have to “get grants and help us out here.”
Coun. Shawn Peach disagreed that the organizations aren’t trying to help out. The Castor Public Library has recently created a Friends of the Library board to help with fundraising and the library has already raised over $1,800 to help with needed internal renovations.
It was noted by council that Paintearth Adult Learning pays $1,200 a month for rent at their main office in Coronation, yet don’t pay anything in Castor.
“They need to help us out,” said Kilner.
According to Mayor Richard Elhard, part of the issue, and the cost of operating the buildings the services are in is the fact that the furnaces in the buildings haven’t been updated in decades in some cases.
“We need to build on efficiencies. We can’t keep operating the way we are,” said Elhard.
Kilner agreed that upgrading the furnaces in the town owned buildings would make a significant change in the utility bills.
“Why don’t we go ahead and get new furnaces in there? We would be better off getting a new furnace in (the town buildings) now, instead of waiting for winter to come,” said Kilner.
At the end of the discussion, Kilner motioned for all organizations to stay in their current locations and for administration to begin incorporating building upgrades into the 2022 budget planning process.
The motion was passed. Subsequently, council gave administration general direction to put out a request for proposal (RFP) for the replacement of furnaces “in various locations around town” with the complete project to be finished by Sept. 30.
*Editor’s note: This story has been changed to adjust that no motion was for the replacement of furnaces. Council had just given general direction.