I read with interest that the tax exemption was denied for the three non-profit childcare sites in Morinville. As executive director of McCauley Community After School Care Association I would have expected to hear this from the town not from the local newspaper. I would also have appreciated a request from council to attend the meeting to give our view point on this issue. We were given this exemption last year and t is my understanding that town administration recommended an exemption for this year. I believe that we are the only non-profit child care paying property taxes in the Greater Edmonton area. This tells me that our council is not very interested in supporting the non-profit field at work in Morinville and thus enhancing the quality of life for many families this community.
It seems that our council is concerned about the level playing field. They are correct in saying that it is not a level playing field. As a non-profit we put our resources to provide a great program for the children and not to build a business that can be sold for a profit. As a registered charity and non-profit society we would not be allowed to sell these centres or their equipment even if we wished to do so. This year children from our out of school care programs were invited to go to Jasper for a five day camp. For many this was their first trip to Jasper and their only vacation this year. This is an example of the type of quality programming we offer. Most child care centres do not put their resources to this kind of quality program.
The level playing field however was in operation when Greater St. Albert Catholic School Board asked both non-profit societies and businesses to operate the new portable day care centre at the high school. We were the only group willing to take this on. As a result of this the school board asked us to operate the out of school programs in their Morinville elementary schools.
Council also made their decision partly based on false information put forward by a councillor who claimed that we did not work with the high school to assist their students in obtaining a basic child care qualification. Had she checked into this with the high school she would have found out that we do.
Paying property taxes will affect the quality of programs we can offer our families. Families may have to pay more or fund raise more. I sincerely hope these families will take into account the decisions made by our present council, and look at the names of the councillors who think we should pay taxes, when choosing to vote at the next municipal elections.