At their virtual meeting on Feb. 9, Town of Virden Council discussed a request from Arts Mosaic for a tripling of their annual grant, currently set at $1 per capita.
“A $3 per capita funding commitment will allow us to provide innovative and quality programming at affordable rates to all community members,” states the organization’s letter to Council. During the discussion, Deputy Mayor Tina Williams supported an increase, but not to the full amount being asked for. “They have, through the pandemic, really stepped up. They have been doing a lot,” she said in reference to the online programming which has and continues to be offered. Williams brought forward a motion to hike the Town’s per capita contribution to $2 for 2020. “Show us this year what you can do with it.”
Coun. Tara Cowan spoke in favour of an increase as well, but not in one lump sum. “I do think they deserve an extra dollar per capita and maybe if we went up 10, 20, 50 cents per year, we wouldn’t see it as such a huge jump going forward,” she said. She expressed concern about the possible duplication of services between Arts Mosaic and Prairie West Recreation, which also receives municipal dollars. “$3,300 compared to what we give to Prairie West is a huge difference, and I don’t understand how they are different. I do think they do some of the same things (as Prairie West), which to me is duplicating a service.”
Mayor Murray Wright cautioned that dollars are tight in the midst of a pandemic. “I think $1 (per capita) is plenty,” he said. “Everybody has to remember that with the revenue down as it has been, just for the rink as an example, we have to be careful.”
The motion to increase the annual contribution to $2 per capita passed, with two councillors opposed.
Stay tuned for more council news in print this Friday.