Community organizations won't have to pay the price 0
Pembroke's mayor has served notice he won't be the one to pull the plug on the city's grant program.
During Tuesday's budget meeting, Mayor Ed Jacyno spoke about the $35,000 the city sets aside annually to help fund select community organizations, and said while other communities make it a practice not to supply grants to local groups, Pembroke isn't going to be one of them.
"This is one of the things we need to do," he said.
Each year, a number of groups approach the city to ask for funding as a way of making ends meet. Each is required to submit a financial statement and make the request in writing, and once the funding is used up, that is it.
So far, the Pembroke Horticultural Society, the Ottawa Valley Historical Society, Pembroke Heritage Murals, the Upper Ottawa Valley Medical Recruitment Committee, the Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network, Family and Children's Services and the Pembroke Ski and Snowboard Club have all made an application for funding.
City CAO Terry Lapierre said the grants in many cases save the city money. The horticultural society, for instance, maintains and plants all of the flower beds and gardens in the city, with the grant used to cover the cost of supplies and other expenses. The Pembroke Heritage Murals provide a great art attraction for far less than the city itself could provide.
Separate from those, the city also provides grants to the Pembroke Handi-Bus to the tune of $25,000 annually, and by formal agreement, makes regular contributions to the Pembroke and Area Airport Commission and Festival Hall.
Deputy Mayor Ron Gervais said the grant the Handi-Bus receives enables them to tap provincial gas tax funds, meant to help pay for transit systems, to allow them to run the operation.
Students attending Bishop Smith Catholic High School may soon be walking on sidewalks, thanks to a partnership being proposed with the city.
During Tuesday's city budget discussions, Doug Sitland, operations manager, informed council the school has offered to share the cost of installing a sidewalk running from Carmody Street to the school
He said the work would cost around $25,000, with the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board chipping in half.
The idea will be brought to the next meeting of the operations committee for consideration.
The mayor's office won't be getting spruced up anytime soon.
During council's run through of the 2012 draft budget, a line item for $5,000 set to cover renovations to the mayor's office was cut at Mayor Jacyno's request. It had been carried forward from 2011.
The mayor said it has been years since the office had been redone, but stated he was willing to put this off.
The city is looking to find $2.6 million in cost reductions to balance the books.
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist