Encore wants $5k from city to balance its books

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Cornwall city hall

CORNWALL, Ontario – The Encore Seniors Education Centre wants $5,000 in taxpayer money to help it “bridge” the gap in 2014 towards becoming self-sustaining.

The agency which provides courses to seniors in Cornwall on a variety of subjects out of a classroom at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall is grappling with trying to gets its budget balanced.

Right now, the agency is staring at a $4,800 deficit to end 2014.

The pressure on Encore comes from rent (about $1,140 a month) it is paying to the college for the use of classroom facilities and office space. For many years Encore, which has 900 members, did not have to pay rent. But following renovations at the college that were wrapped up in 2010 a rental fee was imposed.

Encore is in the fourth year of a five-year lease.

“Can you bridge us for the one year?” asked Encore treasurer Ron Blowfield. “(It) gives us another year…so we can come out at the end of 2014 self-sustaining.”

Dorothy Forrester, chair of Encore,  told a city budget committee college leadership in Kingston has been adamant about receiving the rent, despite requests being made to local campus director Don Fairweather.

“Don feels that his hands are tied, he can’t do much for us,” said Forrester.

The agency said it has raised course fees, reduced part-time hours, held fundraisers and cut postage in an attempt to rein in expenses.

“Some help from the city of Cornwall for one year…I don’t want to say it will keep us going, because the board will find some way to push forward,” said Blowfield, who added the Encore deficit has been almost cut in half over the last few years. “There’s been a real emphasis to move towards self-sustaining. We’re going after fundraising activities and other grants from other organizations.”

City councillors are gathering information at this time before making a decision on funding so-called community agency requests.

"It's great to hear you're looking at sustainability, because I think that's the only way we can spend equal parts of the pie," said Coun. Maurice Dupelle.

Organizations: Lawrence College, Encore Seniors Education Centre

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario, Kingston

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