ERIN – Community grants totalling $35,050 were approved by town council at its April 2 meeting, about half of the total requested by various community groups.
In addition, the town will provide $1,000 to the Erin Garden Club for the upkeep of downtown sites such as McMillan Park and the cenotaph, and $500 to the Hillsburgh Horticultural Society for the provision of plants, flowers and hanging baskets in public spaces.
“They’re really working for the town when they do this,” said Mayor Allan Alls.
Some of the groups requesting money, such as the Children’s Foundation school breakfast program, got the full amount requested ($3,000), while others got substantially less.
Other grants of at least $1,000 went to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Erin Agricultural Society, the Erin District Lions Club (for the Santa Claus parade), the Legion (for Remembrance Day banners), the Hillsburgh Erin Skating Club, the Family Health Team walk-fit program, the Erin air cadets (for their Normandy trip), the Ross R. MacKay parent council and the SF memorial baseball tournament.
The maximum grant is $3,000, except for the East Wellington Community Services (EWCS) seniors program at Centre 2000, which received a grant of $16,000, a limit set by the town in 2016.
Councillor John Brennan suggested the EWCS program be funded outside the community grant system next year, since it takes up almost half the grant budget.
Finance director Ursula D’Angelo, however, asked whether council would want a social service expense in its operating budget – a type of service it has no mandate to provide.
The Erin Farmers’ Market, Main Place Optimist Club, Transition Erin and the Upper Grand Humane Society all requested grants but received none.
“They were very hard decisions,” said D’Angelo.
The farmers’ market did not meet grant criteria, but will get support via the economic development budget.
Applications must be approved by the community grants committee, made up of the mayor, one other councillor (Mike Robins this year) and staff, including the CAO and treasurer.
Grants are for non-profit, charitable and youth groups.