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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Finance Committee meeting discusses Essex Community Partnership Fund applications

by Sylene Argent

On Monday, the Town of Essex’s Finance Committee met to discuss the applications received through the annual Essex Community Partnership Fund.

  The Finance Committee had $102,500 in the Essex Community Partnership Fund reserve to distribute to the applicants, based on their individual requests.

  The Finance Committee passed the majority of the requests submitted into the Essex Community Partnership Fund. These recommendations the Finance Committee made will go before Essex Council on February 7 to be considered for formal adoption.

In the Committed Donations category, the Finance Committee approved the two requests made; one in the amount of $1,649 to support the operation of the Colchester Guardian, and $25,000 to support Heritage Essex in operating the historic Essex Train Station.

  Director of Corporate Services/Treasurer, Kate Giurissevich, noted Co-An park used to be funded through this category, but is now funded though the Town’s Community Service Operating Budget.

  Through the Annual Donations Category, the Finance Committee approved the following:

• The Essex Retirees’ Social Club request of $12,858, which was consistent with last year’s application. This constitutes $8,858 in cash to assist with operations of the senior centre, plus an in-kind grant of $4,000 for grass cutting and snow removal.

• The Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society (HEIRS) requested $1500 in a cash donation for its 2021 50th anniversary celebration that will take place in 2022. As part of that, the club would like to restore several books and documents for the event. The request amount is consistent with the previous year.

• The Harrow Electric Eels Aquatic Team (HEAT) requested $1600 of an in-kind donation to waive the annual insurance amount at a private pool. The team uses the Town’s insurance provider. The request is consistent with the previous year.

  In addition, the Kingsville Essex Associated Band requested $12,500; $10,000 in a cash donation to support operations and $2500 in-kind for rental space. This is an increased request. Last year, the band was approved $8,000.00; $5,000 in cash, $3000 in-kind.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche suggested providing what the Band received last year. The Finance Committee will also ask for reasoning behind the increased request and review it again in the future if further information is received.

  In the Ad-Hoc Donations category, the Finance Committee approved the following:

•  $4,598.16 of in-kind waiver of rental space for the Canadian Blood Services at the Essex and Harrow Arena for their clinics.

• The Harrow and Colchester South Chamber’s request for $1000 cash for its 2022 New Year’s event.

• The Harrow Hockey Moms request of $515.56 for an in-kind waiver of rent for the Harrow Arena for its annual equipment sale.

  In addition, the Community Support Centre of Essex County requested a $20,000 cash donation to reach further into Essex and Harrow areas.

  Tracey Bailey, CEO, said COVID has increased isolation at home, especially for residents in more rural areas, like Harrow and Colchester. The organization is looking at completing a needs analysis with clients.

  “We want to do a needs analysis to ask residents what they need,” Bailey said, noting the Community Support Centre of Essex County provides a variety of services, including adult day programming, foot care, transportation, its mobile unit, visiting, and social programs, etc.

  She said the organization will share the results of the analysis with the Town of Essex.

  The Finance Committee passed the request, as it had room in the budget for the amount this year, and will look at it again in 2023 to see if there is room for that amount again, Meloche said.

  “I think it is a worthwhile effort to accomplish what she is trying to accomplish,” he said. “Our elderly are one of our most vulnerable groups, and we definitely would like to see more [services for them]. Without having the analysis they want to do, are we providing the right kind of service, and I think that is very important to do.”  

  In addition, the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association (WETRA) requested a cash donation of $3500 to purchase a 10’x16’ outdoor run-in shelter structure.

  Becky Mills, Executive Director, said WETRA has been trying to improve its outdoor spaces to enhance the quality of life for its horses. Its staff and volunteers have planted grass seed and improved fencing also in the recent past to achieve this goal. The shelter is a one-time request.

  Councillor Morley Bowman said this is a way the Town can support this organization that is located in its own backyard. The Town gets to support it in small ways, and this is one way it can continue to do so.

  Last year, the Town supported $1800 to WETRA to create outdoor pens for lessons.

  “The Town of Essex is very pleased with all the organizations that help us out to make community life better for the Town of Essex. Every one of you here is someone who represents a group that does that for us. So, thank you, all of you, for being a part of those organizations. It definitely adds to the value of life,” Meloche said.

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