It would be tempting to call Chatham-Kent council’s decision to back a community plan for a new animal control shelter a no-brainer, but in reality, it’s actually much more clever than that.
Council agreed last week to set aside $250,000 from reserves in each of the next two years to help the shelter committee reach its goal of between $1.5 and $2 million.
The funds are tied to the efforts of the committee which can now go out and redouble its efforts to find large scale donors.
The committee has raised $300,000 without launching a concerted effort. Much of that money has come in smaller amounts from individuals so there is a strong indication the community supports the effort.
Since the building will eventually be turned over to the municipality, larger scale donors were seeking an indication that Chatham-Kent was fully on board.
This action confirms that.
What it also does is take a major step toward having the municipality wind up with a new facility for about a quarter of its actual cost.
Considering that the current building was overdue for replacement at the turn of the century, council would have been on the hook for some type of new facility anyway.
This move saves taxpayer dollars and demonstrates again that local government is committed to working with community groups to ensure needed projects come to fruition.
Although elected officials and local government will always carry a leadership role, one of the best uses of municipal talent and tax dollars can be to foster and enhance the spirit of community.