Councillors Lloyd Blackburn and Charles Robinson will remain on the Madoc and District Recreation Centre board after threatening to step down at the end of this month.
Council here decided last week to maintain its seats on the board while the reeves and CAOs of Madoc Township and Centre Hastings hammer out an alternative to the current cost-sharing agreement, which has Centre Hastings paying 60 per cent and Madoc Township paying 40 per cent of arena operation costs.
Council agreed to keep Blackburn and Robinson on the board “until both councils find a more viable way of overseeing the arena.”
Madoc Township council has been dissatisfied with the operation of the recreation centre board and the arena, and the current cost-sharing agreement. During their June committee of the whole meeting council members had discussed the possibility of disbanding the board and leaving the management of the arena in the hands of Centre Hastings, supported by an annual financial contribution from the township.
Council later decided to advise Centre Hastings that Madoc Township would be withdrawing its participation on the board as of Dec. 31. Council also agreed to pay its $40,760 share of the arena operating levy for 2012, and to make an annual contribution for operating costs for the remainder of the council's term.
But last week Reeve Robert Sager said the reeves and CAOs were “making progress” in their efforts to come to an agreement. He said the most recent proposal has Centre Hastings paying 65 per cent, and Madoc Township 35 per cent, based on population and assessment.
“At least we've got them to agree that yes, we are paying too much,” said Deputy Reeve Michael Sniderhan.
Blackburn added it would be in the township's interests at this point to remain on the recreation board. “We have a budget coming up, and I'd be awful worried if we didn't have some input on that. Because there is a list of capital projects, and a wish list.”
Council members stressed that Madoc Township never had any intentions of cutting off its financial support to the recreation centre. “We never said we're not paying for it, not ever,” Sager said.
What they are seeking, council members stressed, is a more balanced, equitable approach to funding and managing all the services that are shared by the two municipalities.
“Both councils should meet every month or so to talk about any problems,” said Sniderhan. “There should be no secrets left, everything should be included,” he said.
“What we should do is sit down as two councils, and say, we've got everybody's budget submissions, let's go over these,” added Blackburn.
Recreation centre board chairman Tom Simpson said he has confidence the committee of reeves and CAOs is making progress. “We're relying on the reeves to have calmer heads and to come to an agreement,” he said.
In the meantime, the board is determining the daily and hourly cost of running the arena, he said.