by Colin Smith
Morinville Town Council may be poised to reevaluate how taxpayers’ money is used to support community groups and initiatives.
At its March 12 regular meeting, the Administration presented Council with the draft of a Council Sponsorship Policy, recommending that it be approved.
The stated aim of the policy is to provide clear guidelines under which Council may provide sponsorships – financially or through the provision of goods or services – in support of any event, activity, person or organization.
As part of it, review and approval of sponsorship requests would be done by the Administration, rather than by Council directly as it is now.
However, discussion of the recommended policy was followed by passage of a motion made by Councillor Stephen Dafoe to refer it for further consideration at a future Committee of the Whole meeting.
“If I had my way, I’d scrap the whole thing,” said Dafoe. “Maybe it would be a good idea to merge it with the Community Grant program.
Speaking in support of Dafoe’s motion, Mayor Barry said the problem was not about this specific policy.
“It is about funding in support of community groups and organizations, and there needed to be a conversation about broadening that support,” he said.
Earlier, Councillor Sarah Hall had questioned whether it should be called the Council Sponsorship Policy if Council was no longer making the decisions about who was sponsored, something also on the mind of Councillor Nicole Boutestein.
“It’s not our policy anymore,” Boutestein said. “If we’re going to have it as a Council Sponsorship Policy it has to be a council decision.”
Boutestein added, “I think it’s very important to have the opportunity to hear what’s being asked of us.”
“I think we miss an opportunity to engage with those organizations,” agreed Councillor Rebecca Balanko.
The Council Sponsorship Policy was drafted by the Administration at the request of Council and previously discussed at the February 19 Committee of the Whole meeting.
During budget deliberations, some members of Council expressed interest in delegating responsibility for the administration of the Council Sponsorship activities to Administration, according to a background summary.
Under the policy, sponsorship may be considered for community initiatives, activities and individuals, including community fundraising activities and events, galas, golf tournaments, silent auctions, athletic endeavours where resident athletes will represent Morinville on a regional or national level and service club initiatives.
Sponsorship recipients must acknowledge and demonstrate the support of the Town of Morinville.
Funding is limited to $5,000 per sponsorship.