Smiths Falls councillors have adopted a new policy on festivals and events which will see the town contribute no more than 30 per cent of the total financial and “in-kind” costs of any future event.
According to the policy, officially adopted at an April 18 council meeting, “The festivals and events supported by council will be eligible for up to $5,000 in funding to a maximum of 30 per cent of the cost of the provision of service for the festival or event.”
The policy goes on to state that the contribution includes both cash and in-kind services (such as the cost of staff time) provided by the town to the event. “The remainder (70 per cent) must be in the form of cash and material contributions from the community.”
The town currently allocates a total of one per cent of its revenues for community grants each year. Under the new policy, up to 20 per cent of those funds will go to festivals and events.
Organizations, which must be non-profits hosting events open to the general public, will be able to apply for funds twice a year. One round of applications, to fund events held from January to June, will have a deadline of Oct. 15. The second round, to fund events held from July to December, will have a May 15 deadline.
Councillor Lorraine Allen said she was pleased that the percentage of community grants allocated for events had been increased to 20 per cent, from just 13 per cent in an earlier draft of the policy.
“The other part of the policy that as support is the attempt to capture in-kind,” said Councillor Jay Brennan.
The introduction to the policy, prepared by Director of Community Services Art Manhire, states that town staff will spend the coming year tracking the cost to all town departments of the support the provide in running local events, “in order to establish a better benchmark for that support level.”