Sylvan Lake councillors will be asked to contemplate conducting a census to count the town’s residents in 2013, when the discuss next year’s budget.
At their Oct. 222 meeting, they received for information a report about the costs and benefits of conducting a municipal census.
The town currently uses the federal census completed in 2011 as its official figure.
Marilee Littmann, in her report to council, stated the town receives a Basic Municipal Transportation Grant from the provincial government of $60 per capita. Other grants use formulas that combine a number of factors including current population. Based on anticipated growth of 3.5 per cent per year, the population may have increased by close to 900 people over the 2011 figure if a census was conducted in 2013.
Several fees or memberships the town pays to various organizations are also based on population. Adding increased grant revenue and deducting increases in fees as well as the $27,000 projected cost of the census, Littman’s report showed increased revenue of over $16,000 in 2014. “In the years following 2014, until another census occurs, the projected increase in revenue would be $43,107 per year,” the report stated.
Councillor Laverne Asselstine said, “I think there’s a bit of weariness about censuses,” noting the federal census was just completed in 2011. He also noted the City of Lacombe recently scrapped its effort to conduct a census.
However, Mayor Susan Samson said that since 2013 is the town’s 100th birthday it’s “a milestone in history where we could show how far we’ve come”.
Councillor Dale Plante agreed.
“It’s a time capsule,” said Councillor Sean McIntyre. “If we exercise our communications efforts, brand it as something people should participate in …”
“Be counted in 100,” suggested Samson.
The report was accepted for information with further discussion planned during budget deliberations which take place Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 3.