Belleville has approved an official policy to meet the new guidelines around use of municipal resources during the election campaign period.
City Clerk Matt MacDonald reminded city council Monday night that once councillors sign nomination papers, they should separate their campaign business from city business, and that includes non-use of city cell phones and computer resources for the campaign.
MacDonald said the new policy just re-enforces rules already in place.
He advised councillors and others who might be considering running for council, “…to take any steps which are necessary to protect yourselves first and foremost and the corporation by association would be much appreciated. Certainly there may be times for current sitting members when you may get questioned on say, parking on a certain street. Something to do with you being a councillor and then may follow up with an election related issue. My suggestion is to then direct them to a different email address for further election issues.”
Councillor Mitch Panciuk asked MacDonald if current members of council are restricted from appearing in the city’s Belleville magazine while campaigning.
MacDonald said a decision regarding publishing during the campaign period will be made soon. He said he and Mayor Taso Christopher have been discussing that issue. He indicated the magazine may not be published during the campaign period.
The clerk also indicated workshops will be held for candidates seeking election.
The nomination period for the municipal election opens in May, the actual campaign period for the fall election is later in the summer.
Extending the Arts and Culture grant deadline
Belleville has decided to give the Arts and Culture community another chance at grant money this year.
At the April deadline, $10,000 was left over since not enough groups made applications by the once-a-year deadline.
Councillor Jack Miller told council Monday night there should be another opportunity for applications since sometimes a group’s plans develop later in the year.
Miller noted that, in the past, the the total $25,000 grant was used up, “so it came as a bit of a shock to have money left over.”