By Chad Ingram
Members of the advisory committee for the Minden Hills Cultural Centre are unhappy with council’s plan to cut $50000 from the cultural centre’s $340000 budget for 2016 and if Reeve Brent Devolin has his way another $50000 in 2017.
Minden Hills council is aiming to keep the property tax increase for 2016 under 10 per cent. The $391000 increase in the township's OPP bill alone equates to a 6.24 per cent increase over the 2015 tax levy.
Council instructed community services director Mark Coleman to slash $50000 from the facility’s budget during the first round of budget talks last month.
Minutes from the advisory committee’s Feb. 1 meeting show committee members are concerned about the funding changes and the committee is asking council to re-examine its decision.
The committee’s recommendation to council reads. “The Minden Hills Cultural Centre advisory committee requests council to reconsider the $50000 reduction in the 2016 budget and further recognize that a proposed further reduction of an additional $50000 in the 2017 budget would seriously compromise the cultural centre’s ability to operate.”
“I don’t concur with their recommendation” Reeve Brent Devolin said during a Feb. 11 council meeting.
Minden Hills council held a secondround of budget discussion Feb. 16 with councillors supporting arevised draft budget from Coleman who shaved more than $52000 fromhis department.
At the cultural centre three students positions oneat each of the Agnes Jamieson Gallery Nature's Place and the MindenHills Museum will be eliminated. There will be a reduction inprogramming dollars at all three facilities conference and educationfunding will be removed and there will be a reduction of hours forrelief staff from a total of 2066 to 1462. There are also reducedsupply expenses for the museum and Nature's Place. Coleman alsoexpects there to be a reduction in utility costs at the faciltyfollowing the installation of LED fixtures in 2015.
Minden Hills council will pass the 2016budget in March.