/Cuts jeopardize cultural centre committee says

Cuts jeopardize cultural centre committee says

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.