By Graham Whittaker
Belleville – City council has found its golden goose in the form of the local casino.
With about $1.7 million already slotted for projects, Belleville city council is enjoying its revenues from Shoreline Casino. The city plans to spend $1.2 million in road repairs and paving work and new license plate reading technology for police; all paid for with its portion.
The fund is meant to be used to support local groups who require funding, and it comprises 5% of the revenue generated by the Shorelines Casino. A municipal contribution agreement between the Shorelines Casino Belleville and the province gives the city 5.25 per cent on the first $65 million of slot revenue and three per cent on the next $135 million of slot revenue
The use of the grants committee, as opposed to city council being responsible, supposedly has the potential to streamline this process as the fund needs to be handled similarly to those the committee already deals with.
However, while this could ensure that the money reaches vulnerable groups faster, some have been quick to point out that this removes the public from the discussion entirely and leaves decisions to be made behind closed doors.
So, what is the priority here?
Did city council make the right choice in deciding to streamline the process; or does the need for transparency and public discourse outweigh the need for speed? Does the controversial nature inherit any difference in how city council should be approaching this issue?
Join Brett Bullen, Tyson Nayler and Graham Whittaker on Monday, April 16th, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with guest Coun. Paul Carr and let us know what you think should be done about the fund.