Groups strug­gle to make ends meet

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY AN­GELA BROWN News Staff

As some North Glen­garry non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions strug­gle to pay their bills, they have been count­ing on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to ease their fi­nan­cial pres­sure.

And the town­ship has drawn crit­i­cism for al­lo­ca­tions ap­proved in its 2015 bud­get.

While North Glen­garry granted $25,000 in com­mu­nity grants for events for 2015, it also gave $15,000 to the Glen­garry Pi­o­neer Mu­seum while Glen­garry Encore Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre re­ceived $2,000 to hold a spring fundraiser.

Glen­garry Encore must pay $5,000 in an­nual rent on a for­mer class­room at Glen­garry Dis­trict High School, in ad­di­tion to its in­sur­ance and ad­min­is­tra­tive costs. It also cov­ers mileage ex­penses for course in­struc­tors.

Pres­i­dent Doug MacKen­zie said the group has used prof­its from two Write It Now books to fi­nance costs, but it will be­come more dif­fi­cult to man­age ex­penses in the fu­ture. Op­er­at­ing with a small deficit, the group is look­ing for ways to keep Glen­garry Encore sus­tain- able.

“There is not a lot of money here,” said Mr. MacKen­zie. Mem­bers pay a $5 mem­ber­ship fee each se­mes­ter but it can be dif­fi­cult to re­cruit new mem­bers. Most peo­ple who at­tend the cour­ses are se­niors.

“We can’t af­ford to op­er­ate at a small deficit,” he adds. “We are try­ing to at­tract more peo­ple.”

Mr. MacKen­zie, who is also vice- chair of Friends of Sum­mer­stown Trails, noted that South Glen­garry has pro­vided fund­ing with­out the “nar­row pa­ram­e­ters” used by North Glen­garry to screen grant ap­pli­cants.

Alexandria Curl­ing Club pres­i­dent Ian McKay com­plained of a dou­ble stan­dard when he wrote a re­cent let­ter to the editor to The

Glen­garry News. While the mu­seum was ap­proved $15,000, a year ago the curl­ing club was re­fused as­sis­tance.

“We were told very quickly by coun­cil that they could not do any­thing with re­gards to taxes or in­sur­ance as it would set a prece­dent with all the non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions we have in the area, which we un­der­stood,” he wrote.

“I guess it is the same as pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ment -- it’s all about who you know with North Glen­garry Coun­cil.”

In­ter­est vi­tal

Dalkeith His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety pres­i­dent and spokesper­son Frances Fraser ob­served the town­ship is giv­ing $900 to­wards a me­mo­rial gar­den, On the Trail

of Pop­pies, to hon­our World War I vet­er­ans.

The DHS wants to con­tinue to re­store de­tailed sten­cilling work in the in­te­rior of the Robert­son-Clark her­itage build­ing. “We are try­ing to sup­port our­selves. The in­ter­est has to be there first. We have had pretty good sup­port so far from the gen­eral public. We ap­pre­ci­ate that and hope they will get more in­volved if they can.”

The town­ship’s Arts, Cul­ture and Her­itage Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee vet­ted the var­i­ous ap­pli­ca­tions from or­ga­ni­za­tions re­quest­ing com­mu­nity grants, be­fore they were sub­mit­ted to coun­cil for ap­proval.

Coun. Carma Wil­liams said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity sup­ports projects or events but does not pay op­er­at­ing ex­penses.

“As long as the ap­pli­ca­tions fell within those guide­lines, it was fairly easy to de­ter­mine their el­i­gi­bil­ity,” she said. “Just be­cause they are not-for-profit doesn’t en­ti­tle any or­ga­ni­za­tion to fund­ing from the town­ship,” she added. Mayor Chris McDonell agreed, say­ing he can ap­pre­ci­ate the chal­lenges for non-prof­its such as the curl­ing club.

He is aware hy­dro costs are high but he sug­gests the curl­ing club look at in­creas­ing mem­ber­ship fees as a way to raise more money. “If they want to keep their sys­tem go­ing they have to pay for it,” he said. “I feel badly for them; the hy­dro is killing ev­ery­one.” The mayor added the town­ship de­cided to sup­port the Glen­garry Pi­o­neer Mu­seum be­cause of its spe­cial im­por­tance.

“It pro­motes peo­ple com­ing through the town­ship,” he said. “It’s keep­ing our her­itage. I feel badly for the curl­ing club. I wish them well. But the mu­seum is some­thing else. It’s our her­itage.”

Non-profit sta­tus does not guar­an­tee a group will get money from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity

Ris­ing costs and shrink­ing mem­ber­ship have groups see­ing red

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