Some big changes in Hanover.
The Town is working hard to make programming and rental rates more affordable for certain groups.
Youth and non profit groups can play and rent in Hanover for less.
Council has approved a 30 percent youth discount for recreation fees and a 25 percent facility rental discount for non profit groups.
Mayor Sue Paterson says the goal is to make recreation programs and facility rental rates more accessible and affordable.
Based on the 2018 revenues received the reduced rates represent a loss of 19.5 thousand dollars in revenue for Hanover.
This equates to 0.30% on the tax levy, as every $64,633 is equivalent to 1% on the town’s levy.
It is Council’s hope that increase participation as a result of the lower rates and fees will help offset some of this revenue loss.
Paterson adds that Council is asking the Recreation Department to seek out other possible savings and efficiencies within their budget that would also help minimize any impact to the tax levy.
In 2016 Hanover abolished its ‘non resident user fees’ which at the time represented a 38 thousand dollar loss in revenue.
Director of Corporate Services Chris Walker notes that once you combine the loss in revenue from non resident user fees (38 thousand) and the new reduced rates for youth and non profit (19.5 thousand) it equates to a one percent impact on the town’s levy.
Deputy Mayor Selwyn Hicks was the only vote to oppose the new reduced rates.
While Hicks is in favour of making programming and rental rates more affordable for youth and non profits, he had hoped to defer the matter for a year, providing both staff and Council with a chance to better absorb the full impact of the reduced rates and how it ties in with an updated strategic plan.
Paterson believes the reduced rates pair perfectly with Hanover’s strategic plan goals which call for an active and healthy community.
It is her hope that the new reduced rates will encourage more youth participation in recreation programming.
In January, staff had proposed a slight increase in the 2019 user fees and rental rates.
Rather than approve the slight increase Council instructed staff to bring back a report with an option to reduce the rates for youth and non profit groups, resulting in the 30 percent discount for youth and 25 percent discount for non profit.
(Note - youth ice rental is already subject to a 28% user fee reduction, so this will now change to 30 percent. The new rates will be much more significant in all other areas of youth programming.)