MINTO – Minto council has put out an open call for all minor sports organizations that need COVID-19 relief funding to send their requests by Dec. 1.
Last week, Deputy Mayor Dave Turton recalled the motion from Oct. 19’s council meeting that allows the council to give some money to minor sports organizations that were heavily impacted by the pandemic.
Council went over Palmerston Lions Club and Harriston Skating Club letters to council asking for financial assistance from the potential COVID-19 relief funding available to groups who experienced financial difficulties over the 2020-2021 season.
The Lions Club needed funding due to the rental loss combined with the continued expenses of heating, hydro and maintenance.
Meanwhile, the skating club needed it because they had incurred a deficit of $1,379.01 and a loss of revenue of approximately $2,340.
Gordon Duff, treasurer for the Town of Minto, noted that if council approves both funding, the town will be left with $5,000 of COVID-19 relief funding for other groups to use.
Coun. Judy Dirksen and Coun. Jean Anderson did not like that.
“I wish we had lots of money to do this with. This is becoming first-come, first-serve, who can get the letter in the fastest gets the most money and everybody else will just be left in the cold,” said Dirksen.
“I’m a little sceptical here because we’re handing out significant funding to very few groups and then nothing to other groups. It’s still public dollars and it came from the province but we still have to spend them wisely.”
Anderson asked if there’s a way where council can set up guidelines or rules on how council can allocate the money equally and fairly to other groups.
CAO Derrick Thompson answered that if the council did not have COVID-19 relief funding from the province, the town usually establishes a community grant program.
“It’s a policy that stipulates how you go about giving community grants to groups and it’s basically based on a number of factors: what’s the payback to the community; what amount of volunteer hours the group would put in in community initiatives. This would take some time to develop,” said Thompson.
“This is a little bit unique because it’s COVID-19 funding, and the premise around the funding is to give back to the community that was impacted by COVID-19.”
So, Thompson recommended for the council to come back at a later date and that staff will do a call out to local sports organizations that want to get a bit of the COVID-19 relief funding.
“Maybe what we should do is defer back to staff and we can do an open call out to the public for anyone interested in the funding. They can send in the request by Dec. 1 and we’ll include the two clubs that we have today, so that way the staff can create recommendations of how much funding each organization that sent a request will get. This way, everyone gets a piece of the funding,” said Thompson.
Council unanimously agreed on this motion.
Angelica Babiera, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com