$5000 grant for SOAP’s show

Clutha Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MARY-JO TOHILL

The South Otago A&P So­ci­ety has been granted $5000 from the Clutha District Coun­cil’s op­por­tu­ni­ties fund to pay for an en­ter­tainer, but not with­out a fight.

The show com­mit­tee is fac­ing a much larger than usual bill for en­ter­tain­ment this year, and asked the coun­cil to fund spe­cial guest Howie Mor­ri­son, son of the late Sir Howard Mor­ri­son, who is per­form­ing at the 151st show at Bal­clutha on Novem­ber 25.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers Shirley John­ston and Katy But­ton made the re­quest in per­son at a coun­cil meet­ing at Bal­clutha last Thurs­day.

They asked for be­tween $4000 and $4500, to help cover Mor­ri­son’s fee and flights. Ex­tra funds were needed to cover GST.

They said the Clutha Li­cens­ing Trust was spon­sor­ing his ac­com­mo­da­tion, and he would also be per­form­ing at Rose­bank Lodge on the Fri­day night be­fore the show, where he would be tak­ing a por­tion of the $30 ticket price. While the 150th ju­bilee show and mem­ber­ship last year had earned the so­ci­ety an in­come of $53,000, ex­penses were $52,000, and that was with­out bud­get­ing for Mor­ri­son’s ex­penses to per­form this year, But­ton said.

The com­mit­tee wanted to in­crease the show’s en­ter­tain- ment value, but it was dif­fi­cult to find ap­pro­pri­ate fund­ing sources in the time frame, John­son said. Ini­tially, it had asked for the fund­ing out of the coun­cil’s grand­stand main­te­nance fund, which was orig­i­nally in­tended to be capped at $100,000. With in­ter­est and ad­di­tional con­tri­bu­tions by the coun­cil, this was now sit­ting at $141,473, with in­ter­est in the last fi­nan­cial year of $6877.

This money had been des­ig­nated for projects such as chang­ing fa­cil­i­ties be­neath the stand. Some coun­cil­lors thought tap­ping into this fund was in­ap­pro­pri­ate. The coun­cil also has an op­por­tu­ni­ties fund for spe­cial projects that fall out­side those ear­marked in the an­nual plan. Some coun­cil­lors thought this was a more ap­pro­pri­ate fund.

When it came to the vote, two coun­cil­lors - Ge­off Black­more and Ali­son Lude­mann - dis­sented, be­cause they did not be­lieve that the op­por­tu­ni­ties fund was set up for re­quests of this na­ture.

Some coun­cil­lors were con­cerned that grant­ing the re­quest would set a prece­dent.

How­ever, af­ter fur­ther de­bate, it was de­cided that fu­ture re­quests would be treated on a case-by-case ba­sis.

SUP­PLIED

Howie Mor­ri­son Ju­nior is per­form­ing at the 151st show at Bal­clutha on Novem­ber 25.

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