Kincardine cuts lottery licence fees in half
By Liz Dadson
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Just months after hiking its lottery licence fees by two percentage points during budget talks, Kincardine council is now chopping those fees in half.
In committee-of-the-whole last night (Aug. 10), Mary Coates of the Kincardine Sunset Quilters' Guild, told council that the increase in lottery licence fees - to three per cent from one per cent of the prize board - is a real hardship for local organizations trying to fund-raise.
Over the past 16 years, the guild has donated 15 quilts to various Kincardine groups, including the Kincardine Hospital Auxiliary, Walker House, Kincardine Old Boys' Reunion, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the Women's House Serving Bruce and Grey, she said.
Its most recent quilt, "Back to Our Roots," was donated to the Kincardine Legion this year which planned to raffle it off as a fund-raiser. However, the quilt is valued at $5,000 which means the new lottery licence fee is $150 - up from $50 last year.
This translates into the Legion having to sell 75 raffle tickets, rather than 25 tickets, just to pay the fee, said Coates.
"That extra $100 may not seem like much," she said, "but it means a lot to these small charitable organizations."
According to the clerk's report, the licensing clerk spends 13 per cent of her time on lottery licences - which include raffles, bazaars, bingos and break-open tickets. The estimated cost is $7,700 and there were 35 licences issued last year.
With the increase in the fee, that would realize revenue of almost $8,500 in 2011. The clerk recommended keeping the fee at three per cent in order to recover the cost of issuing lottery licences.
Coates said it's costing the municipality $220/licence which is a lot of money so perhaps the municipality should consider not providing this service since it is so expensive.
"People think when they buy a raffle ticket, they're supporting the organization, when the money is going to the municipality," said Coates. "If we took our quilt to Saugeen Shores and raffled it off, the charge would be $10, not $150."
A comparison chart, provided by staff, showed most neighbouring municipalities charge two- to three-per-cent, with Saugeen Shores at $10 per raffle, $10 per bazaar, $50 per bingo, and three-per-cent for break-open tickets.
Coates urged council to reconsider the fee hike. The Kincardine Legion has also requested the increase be reconsidered.
"I think we made a mistake," said councillor Ron Coristine, suggesting council drop it back to one per cent or cut it to 1.5 per cent.
Councillor Kenneth Craig asked if the $8,500 was for labour costs or did it include fees paid by the municipality.
Clerk Donna MacDougall said it is mostly labour costs, plus the lottery licence fees are handled through the keystone system at the municipal office. She added that the licensing clerk spends about six hours per licence, depending on what extra information is required and follow-up procedures.
Craig suggested dropping the fee to two per cent. He noted that Saugeen Shores has a $10 charge so the cost in that municipality is basically borne by the tax rate. "We can't do it (lottery licensing) for nothing," he said.
Councillor Mike Leggett said that few municipal services are done at cost-recovery, particularly in the recreation department.
"If all the the charitable organizations refused to buy lottery licences, would we still employ the licensing clerk?" he asked, and received no answer.
Mayor Larry Kraemer said that last year's cost for issuing lottery licences, $7,700, equals $1 per ratepayer in the municipality.
"We could contribute that and charge for the balance," he said, effectively cutting the lottery licence fees in half - 1.5 per cent for raffles, bingos and break-open tickets, and $5/wheel for bazaars. The maximum fee would also be cut in half - $450/licence for raffles, $225/licence for bingos, and $450 per year.
Committee-of-the-whole agreed with that and, after returning to council, the fee cut was approved.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011