Hall subsidy returns

Mapleton council appears to have turned back the clock in its method of handling requests from community groups to waive rental fees on township facilities.

At the Nov. 26 meeting, council directed that use of the PMD Arena and Maryborough Community Centre for hosting events will be free for not-for-profit groups, minor sport teams and seniors’ shuffleboard as of Jan. 1.

In total the groups exempt from the fees will save a combined estimate of $14,513, based on the groups’ fees in 2019. Council made the decision in response to complaints from the public.

“We thought it was a good idea to create a report based on the feedback from the original fees and charges report that said we should recover some of our cost. Clearly there was some letters sent to council with concerns,” said CAO Manny Baron. “So it caused public works and ourselves to take a deeper dive into what the actual impact is for non-profit groups.” Part of the reasoning behind the blanket fee elimination is to take the pressure off council for deciding who does, and does not, get a discount.

The move is pretty much a complete reversal of the approach taken in 2016, when the council of the day decided to stick to the fee schedule for all facility renters in order to avoid being drawn into the trap of choosing winners and losers, so to speak, among hall renters.

It also means a return to an approach that compels every taxpayer to provide additional support for every fundraiser held in a township facility through an addition to the annual recreation deficit. Through the deficit, taxpayers already provide a measure of support for all events at the facility, charitable or otherwise.

Fewer municipalities these days are choosing to subsidize facility use in this fashion, opting instead to insist groups pay the already-subsidized rates in existence. However, as long as ratepayers are fine with it, it’s not a problem. It’s to be hoped though, that at least those benefiting from subsidies will remember the gesture when they get their tax bill.

That’s not always the case.