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HomeNewsCOVID-19County to cover Evergreen Park payroll expenses through March 2021

County to cover Evergreen Park payroll expenses through March 2021

The County of Grande Prairie will be using what’s left of its provincial COVID-19 funding to help out Evergreen Park. It has approved using the rest of its Municipal Operating Support Transfer grant to help cover payroll expenses for the Grande Prairie Regional Agricultural Society.

This is the second time the County has helped Evergreen Park in this way. During its interim budget deliberations, council approved spending roughly $973,000 to cover estimated payroll expenses from February 2020 to the end of the year, with $664,000 coming from the MOST grant and $309,000 from the financial stabilization reserve.

Actual payroll expenses came in roughly $32,000 more than expected, so the remaining $281,000 of their grant will cover the overage as well as January, February, and March 2021 payroll which is estimated at $85,000 per month. County Reeve Leanne Beaupre says the society typically runs a lean operation but has been greatly hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic and continued restrictions on its industry.

“Very active in trying to generate revenue but when your hands are tied by provincial restrictions and Alberta Health guidelines, it’s pretty hard to generate that.”

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The province’s recent decision not to move into Step 3 of its reopening plan has dealt another blow to the organization, as its casino and horse racing operations fall under that category. It also largely relies on large-scale events and trade shows for its revenue, which aren’t addressed until Step 4.

Beaupre adds that she and County councillors know that smaller organizations in the region are also struggling to keep the lights on. She encourages them to reach out once they have gone through all other avenues.

“We recognize that they need some help too and we’ve encouraged them to approach the county if they need some help, but we also encourage them to make sure that they’ve exhausted all of the avenues both provincially and federally for the money that’s available for them for COVID relief.”

The County had until the end of March to use all of its MOST funding.

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