MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has approved updates to the municipality’s health funding policy to include capital as well as operational funding requests.
Previously capital project were not permitted to receive funding under the policy.
The move came by way of motion at the recent regularly scheduled Mountain View County council meeting. The changes were recommended by the governance review committee, which considered the matter at its Oct. 13 meeting.
The updated policy statement of Policy No. 5001 - Health Funding now reads: “Mountain View County council is committed to supporting innovative solutions that support health-care delivery for residents of Mountain View County within the county or its urban partners.”
The policy now covers four governing principles, including “Operational and capital projects are both eligible for funding under this policy. Requests for operational funding under this policy shall be prioritized higher than requests for funding of capital items.”
Council also approved a change to the accompanying Procedure No. 5001 - 01, removing the words “capital purchases of upgrades” from the list of ineligible groups. Groups remaining in the ineligible section are for-profit organizations and projects/programs that do not enhance the health care of Mountain View County residents.”
Administration had originally proposed removing the line: “Requests for operational funding under this policy shall be prioritized higher than request for funding of capital items.” Council voted to retain that line in the updated policy.
During the Oct. 26 council meeting, council and administration staff discussed the matter of the health funding policy at some length.
Deputy reeve Greg Harris said, “I guess I have a small concern. When all of this was started it was to support programs. I don’t have a problem with the capital, but I still believe that operations funding should be done first and then if there is some (funding) left over then it can go to capital. My fear is that a capital project is going to scoop it all or be able to scoop it all, and programs are going to suffer.
“I think capital should be eligible but I’m just a little concerned that if it is not clear in the policy that down the road we could have capital and not the operational.”
Reeve Angela Aalbers said, “I share the same concerns. From the municipal point of view we always talk about governments giving us grants for capital but they don’t give us any grants for operating which is frustrating because they give us money to build things but then they don’t give us money to operate them.
“I really would still like to see us prioritize the operational prior to the capital because I think it is extremely important that we keep the things that we currently have. Capital always tends to be a lot more expensive so we are going to have to really figure out how we spread those dollars because capital projects tend to come in with a higher price tag.”
Governance review committee member and councillor Gord Krebs said, “I think in governance we aren’t trying to take anything away from operational. We were just trying to open it up to make capital things possible.”
Council passed a motion approving the change to the policy and accepting the change to the procedure as information.
This year county council approved a total of $49,265.83 for four community groups under the municipality’s health funding policy.
Groups receiving funding in 2022 are Hope 4 MVC Kids Society, Olds & District Hospice Society, Sundre Health Professional Attraction & Retention, and the Village of Cremona.
“This funding is directed to support health programs and services for enhanced and sustainable health care,” said Jeff Holmes, the county's chief administrative officer. “Any allocated funding for health-care initiatives must have a direct benefit to residents of Mountain View County.
“Projects and programs shall support health initiatives in a capacity such as promotion, prevention, treatment, continuing care, and/or rehabilitation.”
Council also passed a motion updating the Mountain View County community recognition awards policy as recommended by the governance committee.
Policy No. 8005 now states in part that Mountain View County may acknowledge significant achievements and special occasions of county residents or former longtime county residents.
All council members attended the Oct. 16 council meeting, held in person and on Zoom.