Wednesday, July 17, 2019

City seeks feedback on Community Grant process through Rupert Talks Survey

The City of Prince Rupert is looking to hear from residents on themes related to the civic Community Enhancement Grant process,  with a particular focus to be directed to what residents may consider to be priorities for the future.

Towards that feedback, the city is hosting an anonymous survey through its Rupert Talks platform, with the results to be presented to City Council for further review as they give consideration towards a revision of the Grant policy.

In the introduction to the survey process, the city notes how Council does not believe that they have enough information at the moment, to be able to support new opportunities to fund other groups outside of those that traditionally receive civic funding.

For the last number of years the same organizations have been recipients of the available grant funds meaning other groups who have applied have not received funding. In some cases, the organizations that applied did not meet the criteria or Council has faced the difficult alternative prospect of withdrawing funding from one organization in order to give to another, given the limited pool of funds.

From that overview, City Council has determined that a policy refresh is required, in order to provide updated guidance on what the community would like to see when it comes to civic support through public funding.

As part of their information gathering process, city staff recently brought together a group on non-profit organizations and community members to evaluate the policies of other municipalities and to offer their own suggestions towards improving the process.

Back in May we explored the background to the consultation program that was introduced by Council, with the City's CFO Corinne Bomben at the time outlining for Council her hopes for the survey process that they are now embarking on.

"I am actually planning on using Rupert Talks to get community input and also invite existing community grant recipients as well as anyone else who has never received one before, to participate in establishing and creating the new Community Enhancement Grant policy"

As we noted at that time, the call for reform of the Community Grant process is something that Council first explored in December of 2014, with some of the recent attempts to tweak the system finding a strong public reaction.

Some of Council's past concerns and discussion points on the theme of Community Grants can be explored below:

November 2018 -- Prince Rupert Arts Council quest for additional funding will have to wait until 2020
October 2018 -- City Council to pursue new way of addressing and distributing Community Enhancement Grants after 2019
December 2017 -- Council to review 2018 Community Grant Enhancement distribution tonight
October 2016 -- Councillor Cunningham raises questions on City's Community Grant issues
September 2016 -- Councillor Thorkelson calls for a more equitable process when it comes to Community Grants and Property Tax Enhancement Grants
December 2015 -- Council to review Community Enhancement Grant process in January
December 2014 -- Council changes Community Enhancement Grant Formula for 2015, with further review on the process to come in May
October 2014 -- Changes to the Community Enhancement Grant process on the Agenda for tonight's Council session

To move forward on the topic of Community Grants, the city is taking all of its previous work on the file  to the larger public setting of their Rupert Talks program to hear from residents.

The survey itself is fairly short, offering an opportunity to rank the types of projects you would like to see funded, as well as to identify additional priorities that Council should consider when it comes towards Community Grants.

They also look for guidance as to ow the grant process should work and if the decision on picking the successful applicants should be through City Council or by way of a committee of Community members.

The City also inquires about the interest of the public in a community fair setting where would be applicants would showcase what they offer to the public before the Allocation of the grants is made by the Community

One question also asks if residents would support a tax increase to provide additional funding for new community grants, something which would allow the City to expand and diversify the pool of recipients.

To participate you will have to register for the program, or use the log in provided if you have already done so. You can offer your views through the survey which is available here.

More on the Rupert Talks Program can be explored here.

To get a look at how the City currently handles its Community Grant process, the Schedule of Grants or contributions that were distributed in 2018 was included as part of this years Annual Report.

The item below provides a look at how the City allocated its funding last year.

(Click to enlarge)

You can find more background on the theme of Community Enhancement Grants through the years from our archives of Council Discussion themes.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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