Smiths Falls reaches arena cost-sharing agreements with most of its neighbours

June 30, 2017 by

Smiths Falls outside corner (600x450)Smiths Falls has finally reached a recreational cost sharing agreement with most of its neighbours, and is working on barring non-contributors from the facilities.

Rideau Lakes, Drummond North Elmsley, and Elizabethtown-Kitley have all signed the five-year agreement.  Montague has agreed to contribute its share in 2017 while it continues negotiations with Smiths Falls over shared services, but Merrickville Wolford, has declined to participate at all.

“We will be bringing back a policy for prohibiting non-contributors from using the facility,” CAO Malcolm Morris, told council on June 26.

This year the town changed its contributions formula to reflect actual demand for the facilities from neighbouring municipalities.  They’re now using a formula that takes geography and assessment values into account, very similar to the formula used by Perth and Carleton Place.

“The cost is distributed based on actual net cost of running the facilities,” added Morris. “The old formula was a disincentive to promoting the facilities, so we changed the system so everyone is motivated to use the facilities and keep costs down.”

It currently costs the town almost $425,000 to run the facilities and contributions from all partners to the agreement will total $203,527.

“If we managed to find savings above five per cent, we will distribute those saving to our partners at the rate of 50 per cent, of savings which builds in an incentive for us to reduce our costs as well,” explained Morris.

Each  year the partner’s fee will be calculated based on the previous year’s audited net operating costs so that neighbouring municipalities are assured that they’re only being asked to kick-in their fair share.  There’s also a five per cent cap on increases from year to year and a reserve fee has been built into the formula.

“It’s been a tough nut to crack, but this is the best solution I’ve seen so far, so congratulations to staff for putting together a solution that’s fair to everyone,” said Chris Cummings, councilor.