Speller sponsorship request leads to personal, not town, donations


By Ron Giofu

A local football player is heading to Austin, Texas in February as part of a U17 All-Ontario football team but will not get an official donation from the town.

However, that isn’t stopping members of council from making personal donations.

The cost of the trip is $1,500 and the town rejected giving the 14-year-old Lajeunesse student any taxpayer money, citing town policy. Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland had made a motion to give Speller $1,500 and deal with it at budget time but the motion failed due to a lack of seconder.

“I think it’s fabulous he’s been offered to do this,” said Sutherland.

Mayor Wayne Hurst pointed out the town’s policy and said because Speller and his family were sitting in the audience, it doesn’t give members of council license to ignore their responsibilities as elected officials.

Should the request have been referred to budget, Hurst was confident council would reject the request.

Town Logo Small-web “You’ll say no. I know you will. I will too,” he said.

If the request were approved, Hurst believed the town would “get requests all the time” but added that council members were welcome to give Speller funding out of their own pockets.

“It doesn’t preclude us from making donations ourselves,” he stated.

Councillor Carolyn Davies said her and her husband were thinking of making a personal donation and agreed with Hurst that it would set a precedent. She said if the town were to approve all funding requests, it would have a significant impact on taxpayers.

“We’d have to raise our taxes quite a bit because of the number of worthy causes,” said Davies.

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