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An Orange softball club's grant request has been denied by council, fearing floodgates would open

September 9, 2022




By David Fitzsimons


An Orange sporting team’s submission for $1,500 from council has been knocked back amid fears it would spark a flood of similar requests.


And an Orange sporting institution’s funding request to aid its 45th event was also not approved by Orange City Council on Tuesday night, with the group instead asked to come up with a different application.





Council staff had recommended both requests be approved.

However, the council did approve a $10,000 request from an Orange winemakers’ group to help promote the 2022 Orange Wine Festival.



The Bletchington Softball Club’s request for $1,500 to support a recruitment drive was knocked back. Councillor Tony Mileto said he was concerned it “may open up a precedent for all clubs to do the same".





He said it was not the responsibility of ratepayers to fund a recruitment drive for a club.


Mayor Jason Hamling said the softball club’s request could “open up a Pandora’s box” of demands.

Councillor Steve Peterson said he was concerned how much of the $60,000 budget for the small donations and grants program was being spent in the first few months of the year.


Despite council giving the Orange Eight Day Games committee a total of $7,500 for the past three events, this year’s request for $2,500 to “supplement entry fees” for the 45th event was not granted.



Instead, it was deferred to seek more information and fine-tune the request.





Mileto said subsidising entry fees was not “a responsible use of ratepayers’ money”.


Councillor Glenn Floyd said there were “a lot more ways we could spend this money more beneficially to help other groups out”.


Councillor Tammy Greenhalgh said she could not support the request, saying she believed 90 per cent of the entrants came from Orange.


“So, we’re not bringing any tourists into our community,” she said.

However Hamling said the event was important to Orange and it supported local businesses.


The request should be deferred for more information as the application had been “poorly put forward to council”, councillor Kevin Duffy said.



Council did approve several other funding requests in this category, including to assist mental health work, the girl guides, student road safety education and the Canobolas Pipe Band.



And it approved $10,000 from its event development fund to the Orange Region Vignerons Association to help promote the 2022 Orange Wine Festival.


It said the money would be used for “media and promotion including the creation of banners, programs, lanyards”.

The festival starts later this month and continues throughout October.



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