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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Finance Committee reviews/makes recommendations on Community Partnership Fund

- Council will make the final decision in the near future -


by Sylene Argent

Members of the Essex Finance Committee met virtually on Monday evening to make recommendations as to which applicants should be successful in garnering funding through the 2021 Essex Community Partnership Fund Grant.

  Annually, funds, or in-kind donations, through this grant program are set side through the Town of Essex Budget to assist community organizations in their endeavours.

  During the meeting, members of the Finance Committee reviewed each of the requests submitted for funding through the 2021 Essex Community Partnership Fund Grant. Members had $102, 500 to allocate. As the total sum of requests from the various applicants exceeded the maxim available to allocate by around $20,500, members of the Finance Committee made a variety of recommendations for Essex Council to consider, and possibly approve, at a future regular meeting.

Through hearing an overview of the requests from Director of Corporate Service/Treasurer, Jeff Morrison, and Manager of Finance and Business Services, Kate Giurissevich, Committee members learned the Town perpetually presents the Co-An Park Committee with $20,000, Heritage Essex – which operates the Essex Railway Station – with $25,000, and the Colchester Guardian with $1649 for their operations.

  Amherstburg also contributes to Co-An Park annually. Co-An park is co-owned through the Essex and Amherstburg. Essex also owns the Essex Railway Station.

  Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche explained the funds forwarded to Co-An Park is a great deal, as it would cost the Town more to run the local park if a committees was not dedicated to its overall operation. Councillor Morley Bowman said the same thing about the Essex Railway Station.

  The amount supplied to the Colchester Guardian, a rescue vessel that is based out at the Colchester Harbour, was an agreement that would be in effect perpetually from 2020-2024 to help cover slip costs of being docked at the Colchester Harbour.

  The Finance Committee recommended the following annual applications based on their request:

• The Essex Retirees’ Social Club be approved for $12,858. Of those funds, $8,858 will be to assist with programming and $4,000 will be in-kind for grass cutting and snow removal through the Town of Essex. This total amount was lower than in the past, but Community Service Director, Doug Sweet, explained that was because the Town lowered the estimate of what those services were actually costing the Town.

• Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society (HEIRS) be approved $1500 to assist with a computer project and preparations for its 50th anniversary. This is an amount HEIRS typically receives.

• The Harrow Electric Eels Aquatic Team be approved for an in-kind allocation of $1600 for insurance provider costs. This request was up from the traditional $750 it typically asks for.

• The Kingsville Essex Associated Band be approved for its request of $8000, which was up $500 from the previous year. The funds include a cash grant of $5,000 for its operations, plus an in-kind grant of $3,000 for facility rentals.

  The Finance Committee recommended the following ad hoc donations:

• Canadian Blood Services be approved $4,080 in-kind grant for clinic space, which was up from its $2,664.00 request last year. Sweet explained the higher requested amount was for additional clinic time (12 in total) at the Essex Centre Sports Complex this year.

• The Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village be approved for its request of $10,000, which was higher than its requests in the past. The funds will go towards programming and maintenance of the site. Councillor Chris Vander Doelen spoke in favour of the funding for the local Museum, as he understood it was unable to do much fundraising this year, due to the pandemic. The Committee members noted this amount was to help the Museum survive through the pandemic and should not be looked at as a perpetual funding mechanism.

• The Essex Firemen’s Association be approved for $5000 for liability insurance and to help restore an antique fire truck, which Meloche said they hope to drive in local parades.

• Harrow Hockey Moms be approved for an in-kind donation of $515.56, which will be for a facility rental to host a hockey equipment sale in the summer.

• The Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association be awarded $1,800 for sand footing installation. This was higher than the $800 approved last year. Mayor Larry Snively said the money is going to support a good cause.   

  Requests the Finance Committee recommends be altered:

• The Harrow & Colchester South Chamber of Commerce received $1000 last year for its New Year’s Eve Party, which did not take place, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was not issued an additional $1000 this year, but the Finance Committee recommended it can use last year’s funding to host the 2021 event, if it can proceed.

• The Community Support Centre of Essex County requested $20,000 this year for its operations. It is located in Lakeshore, but took over the programs Essex Community Services used to provide the community. Last year, this organization requested $10,000, but the funding was never issued as the Town had additional questions that were not responded to. Morrison noted, typically, there would have been follow up on the Town’s part, but the COVID pandemic threw a wrench into the communications process. The Committee decided to recommend approving issuing only the $10,000 allocated last year, if the organization could explain how the funds would be used specifically for Essex.

• Access County Community Support Services requested $10,000. For the past several years, it requested $9201. Its main office is located in Kingsville, but operates the Harrow Day Care. The money goes towards programming. The Finance Committee discussed several options on how the funds should be distributed, while programming is available as lockdowns cancel that programming. Members decided upon a 10.5-month plan, with a value of $8,750, as the current lockdown will extend into February.  

  With the alterations, the Finance Committee has $1744 remaining in this grant program, which may be used for emergency requests later in the year.

  In the future, the Finance Committee also agreed with administration’s request that the Co-An Park funding be added to the Town’s Operating Budget, instead of the grant program. This will allow staff members to track expenses more easily. As a result, the grant program will be lowered $20,000 in the future.

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