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As reported on September 29th (link below), Council was recently debating a Community Grants and Donations policy that would guide who should be given grants or subsidies and the Cobourg Taxpayers association made a presentation on the subject that caused Council to defer a decision for further review.  One of the recommendations of the policy was that “in exceptional circumstances [Council will approve] a waiver of standard fees, where by doing so could benefit the quality of life for citizens in the community.”  At the next COW meeting on October 19, the group managing the new building on Hospital owned land is asking for a waiver of $312,000 in fees.

The justification is that the work is being done by a not-for-profit corporation and the building will be ultimately owned by the Hospital (More on proposed building here).  They also point to benefits to the whole community from this development.  They hope to start work in the Fall of 2015.  Download their letter to Council here.

But there are some questions that need to be addressed before this is granted:

  1. What will the as yet undecided policy have to say on donations of this kind to not-for-profits?  This policy is not likely to be resolved for some months.
  2. Does this set any kind of a precedent – e.g. donations to not-for-profits?
  3. One of the signatories to the letter is Dr. Mark Essak who is in a court case about dismissal of an employee. It would seem that he has to recuse himself from this application and from activity on this project until that case and any possible criminal cases are settled.  Other signatories are not named in that case. (Details here)

According to the agenda for the C.O.W. meeting, the letter will be presented by “Jack Russell, Chair, Northumberland Hills Hospital Board/Director Northumberland Medical Arts Inc.,  and Tracy West, Coordinator, West Northumberland Physician Recruitment”.
The current status of the project is that citizens have pledged $3million in bonds and a mortgage for $7million is being sought.  So far, $5,500 in fees to the Town have been paid for a site plan application fee/deposit.  Additional fees are expected of $240,000 for development charges and building permit fees of $72,000.

More on the grants policy and research by the Cobourg Taxpayers Association (CTA) here.  Note that the CTA singled out the Hospital for possible high grants by the Town but their recommended limit was $6 per Cobourg resident per year – significantly less than the amount requested here.

Update, October 19, 2015

At the Council's Committee of the Whole Meeting on October 19, the delegation led by Jack Russell was cancelled so the above has not yet been officially presented.  It may return in modified form.

 

 

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