Grants and giveaways

Lots of discussion at Council this week and last meeting about grants for good causes and events, like charity hockey tournaments, etc.

Nobody likes to say no.  But the fact is, Council shouldn’t be picking and choosing among good causes; if we go that route, we’ll never make everyone happy and we’ll end up making a lot of people unhappy.

A year ago Council directed that a separate committee be set up to decide on community grant requests like this, and institute a formal process so all groups get the same chance, and the decisions on who gets the grant get de-politicized.  Nothing worse than politicians having to pick favourites, especially when it comes to good causes (they are all worthy…and how do you decide if one is more worthy than the other).

As a Councillor, I’ve brought forward my share of charitable events that I want the City to support, but we really need some consistency and clarity when giving out these sorts of grants.   On March 7th, we’ll get this long-awaited report from staff on a committee and clear process for grant requests.  Hopefully this will put an end to the ad hoc, picking and choosing among the so many great causes that could use our help.

About jefflehman
Jeff Lehman is the 46th Mayor of the City of Barrie. The Ward 2 Councillor for the City of Barrie from 2006 to 2010, he was the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council, chaired the City’s Growth Management Working Group, and created the Historic Neighbourhoods project, a new initiative to protect and revitalize Barrie’s oldest neighbourhoods. Jeff has lived in Barrie for most of his life, having grown up in Allandale and attended Barrie Central Collegiate. Jeff holds a B.A. from Queen’s University, and a Master’s Degree with first class honours from the UK’s prestigious London School of Economics. He was hired to teach at the LSE following his graduation, and lived and worked in London for two years as an academic. Since that time, as an economist, he has worked with cities across Canada to manage redevelopment and invest in their urban infrastructure. In 2005, he established the Growing By Degrees Task Force to assist in expanding university education opportunities in Barrie, and has volunteered his time with many organizations in the City. Jeff lives near Downtown Barrie with his wife, Jennifer, a part-time professor of political science, and their young daughter Cassie, who is already smarter than her father.


2 Responses to “Grants and giveaways”
  1. John Borden says:

    It’s interesting how we can throw money at the Gryphon Theatre that we do not own (and run), build a Legacy Fire Hall for over 40 million (closer to 50) that we didn’t need along with a request for a new fire truck (after the fact) plus the Downtown Theatre running (that should have never been built) it at over 500 grand over budget. (Apparently we tried to borrow money from a non related project before someone caught it) I think the local paper talked about that too. What is it now 7, 8 million total cost) (it was supposed to be an investment property wasn’t it?) But we cut funding to Barrie’s Community Grants Program ($100,000). The article with quotes from what we are stuck with for the next four years on the front page of the Examiner dated March 8, 2011. Read it then phone or email your member and tell them what you think.

    • jefflehman says:

      Hi John. Thanks for the comment. Just for clarity – the Firehall cost $14M, not $40M. It was two-thirds funded by Mr. Harper and Mr. McGuinty so the cost to the City of Barrie was just under $5M. On the theatre, Council directed staff to find any cost over-runs through savings elsewhere in the capital budget, staff did not try to borrow money from elsewhere.

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