Earlier this week, Vermilion Town Council carried a motion to allocate up to $20,000 of their Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) to the Vermilion Public Library, and up to $10,000 to the Vermilion & District Housing Foundation.
The town was offered $425,000 in a MOST grant from the province to help cover operating costs due to significant impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a great way we can partner with these two organizations,” said Mayor Caroline McAuley.
“As chair of the board, I know that this money is going to be greatly appreciated by the housing foundation. It will allow them to do some virtual conferencing with their remote locations and bring their computers up to speed.”
Director of Finance & Communication, Brian Liebel, said they did receive further clarification that the funds could be used for technology and could be shared with other organizations within the town.
Both organizations ordered new computers and camera equipment to make their virtual conferences possible, and the housing foundation purchased five iPads.
With little walk-in traffic, and inability to collect fees, the Vermilion Public Library reported considerable loss.
They said provincial directives on quarantining material made it difficult to verify whether items were returned on time, so they waived all late fees. With public gatherings limited, there was little opportunity to rent their extra space, and they were unable to hold their annual book sale.
The town is unsure if other outside organizations could be eligible recipients.
The town’s deadline to spend the funding is March 31, and they have only used approximately $150,000 of the $425,000 as well as this additional $30,000.
“We are looking for additional revenue shortfalls that would make up the difference – any opportunity to use up that fund,” said Leibel.
Council questioned whether the Senior’s Centre or the Good Life Institute may be eligible.
“This is a great opportunity that isn’t going to impact the ratepayers in our community,” said Deputy Mayor, Justin Thompson.