Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Council explores range of options for Community Enhancement Grant Process

When the new City Council takes to their seats following the November election, one of the first issues of interest they will be addressing will be how to approach the process for Community Enhancement Grants.

Monday's review of that process got off to a bit of stuttered start, with the Mayor introducing a motion to reduce the grants further from the recommended 65 per cent level, to 35 percent, leaving it to the new Council of November to determine the remainder of the funding level.

That wasn't a plan that Councillor Thorkelson wished to see determined at this time, putting forward a motion to table the issue until after the November vote.  However, with many councillors still wishing to contribute to the discussion, Ms. Thorkelson withdrew her motion, which opened the meeting to further review.

From there, Council engaged in a wide ranging discussion of the Grant process, with Councillor Ashley expressing concern that a new Council may struggle to make a decision on the issue with little experience on the topic.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson offered up her agreement with Councillor Ashley on the prospect of a new council struggling with the issue and to be able to make a proper decision on grants.  She would prefer to see the current council make some kind of a decision before the new council is elected.

Councillor Cunningham observed that scheduling meetings with the recipients before any grants are approved would be his preference, accepting the prospect of a 35 percent grant approval prior to those meetings, with the follow up sessions in late 2014 to be held to review the levels further.

Council Garon agreed with much of what Mr. Cunningham had observed, though she again called attention to the priority needs of the Big Six applicants. She wasn't sure at what level their first grant should be pegged at, but did believe that they should be given attention owing to their budget requirements.

The Mayor then introduced a motion that the Big Six (Performing Arts Centre, Golf Course, etc) be invited to meet with council starting in December and that staff also provide to the new Council in December what would be an acceptable amount to advance to those organizations for the first part of the year.

Councillor Ashley then asked for clarification, asking if staff would provide guidance as to what levels of funding should be determined in the New Year.

After the fairly vigorous review, the Mayor's motion on the theme was adopted.

A more detailed account of the discussion on the Community Grants can be found on our City Council Timeline feature.

You can also review the wide range of views on the topic from the City's Video Archive, the discussion starts at the four minute mark and continues on for fourteen minutes.

For more on developments at City Council see our archive page here.

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