Donations policy applied unfairly says Councillor

MV Council’s Finance & Administration Committee plans to recommend that the township change its policy for in-kind donations. At its Jan. 29th meeting, the committee reviewed a request from Colette Mantifel for an in-kind donation for the Terry Fox Run in September 2018.

Mayor Love said Council had decided last year that it would set a deadline for in-kind donations in 2018 but Council had not yet determined the deadline or how much would be budgeted. MV had exceeded the amount it budgeted for this purpose in 2017. Mantifel’s request is the first they have received for 2018. Committee discussed various options including:

  • set the budget first then refuse donations once that amount is reached
  • decide on the annual budget based on the 2017 actual amount and set an early deadline, but hold some funds back for requests received later in 2018
  • consider requests at pre-determined times throughout the year giving notice of what percentage of budget remains available at each stage

Acting Deputy Clerk Gwen Dombroski said the current By-Law requires organizations to submit a request more than 30 days before the event. She said Mantifel made the request early knowing that Council was considering changes to its policy.

During the discussion tempers flared. Councillor Maika pointed out that Council had re-structured a discounted rate for non-profit community organizations to use township facilities. She said people should pay that rate and it should not be waived. Councillor Archer took issue with that saying,

“There is favouritism at this table. You could have five organizations come. There could be a rate for charities, for not-for-profits, and it is applied to some groups and not to others. At the end of the day either we have a policy that is universal and fair to every organization or volunteer committee – or it’s not. So sitting here and pretending that’s not true doesn’t wash with me. There needs to be consistency.”

Mayor Love intervened to restore calm, saying she needed clarity on the issue. She would bring back the in-kind donations policy to the Finance & Administration Committee in February. The mayor said Council needed to ensure this is done in a fair and equitable manner.

Mantifel’s request was deferred until Council decides on the policy. Community organizations planning to request in-kind donations in 2018 might therefore be advised to follow her lead and apply early as there is a risk that MV will set a cap on the amount.