Grey Highlands plans for $33K in donations to community organizations

·3 min read

More than $33,000 is earmarked for distribution to 15 community organizations in the Grey Highlands.

The requests have yet to be ratified by council, but the Financial Assistance Planning Committee recommended council approve the requests put forth in round one of 2022’s Community Grant Program.

In total, there was more than $73,000 in requests for financial assistance, against a tentative budget of $63,350.

The committee recommended financial assistance for the following requests:

The committee also recommended the approval of three requests to help offset the costs of liability insurance, although these fall out of the committee’s usual scope:

The committee also recommended approval for the Badjeros Community Centre’s request for $6,294.04 to replace interior and exterior doors, as well as approving relief for their 2022 property tax.

The Rotary Club of Markdale’s requested $40,000 for the development of a disc golf course, creating an accessible fishing platform, installing Wi-Fi, improving accessibility, creating a new walking path, and erecting educational displays. The committee voted to include those requests in the 2022 recreation master plan process.

Included among the financial requests were a wide variety of asks to waive user fees for municipal facilities to host events.

While the committee recommended that the majority of these requests be approved, staff pointed out that significant costs are incurred with municipal rentals due to stringent COVID-19 cleaning measures.

“In the past we used to wipe down the tables and fold them up and put them away if they were used for a meeting. Now it means cleaning every leg, everything, [a] complete thorough cleaning and we just don't have the staff to do that,” said Michele Harris, Director of Economic & Community Development.

“If we're using our contract cleaner, there's a minimum of three hours charged for that at an approximate cost of $165 per rental,” said Krista House, Economic & Community Development Officer. “If we were to offset all [the proposed rentals] through the current contract cleaning, it would cost us just north of $44,000.”

House mentioned that COVID-19 recovery funds are still available, but they are not guaranteed in 2022.

“The COVID-19 recovery funds are still available,” House said. “We do know they're available to the end of this year, but it's my understanding that we're not guaranteed anything beyond the end of 2021, so this is representing basically a worst-case scenario.”

Harris pointed out that while there are still COVID-19 funds in reserve, there are anticipated requests for their use.

“There are a number of anticipated requests that are coming forward where we'll be using that, so we're not even aware that there's going to be any reserve funding left,” she said. “I think it was really important that this was brought forward because this has significant implications … we'll do our best to have our own staff clean [but] as you know, we don't have a large staff.”

Harris stated that council will have to decide how to handle the additional costs of cleaning in the upcoming 2022 budget.

“In the 2022 budget, which will be tabled shortly, we have added additional costs for contract cleaning,” she said. “It will be at council's discretion - do we want to incur the additional costs on the tax levy? Or do we want to look at our fees and charges bylaw for increased costs? Now, obviously that's not going to apply to free rentals that we give away but certainly on our paid rentals.”

Greg McGrath-Goudie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca

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