Monday, November 25, 2019

Community Groups to learn status of Enhancement Grant application success, or not, tonight

CFO Corinne Bomben has prepared
a report on Community Grant
Allocation for 2020 for council
The annual plan to distribute community grants will be outlined for the public tonight as part of the final Council session for November, as Council receives, reviews and makes perhaps its final decisions on a report from the City's Financial Officer, Corinne Bomben.

With the deadline for applicants having passed in mid-October, the City's Finance Department has reviewed the funding level that the city has made available and matched it up with the applications received for 2020.

The largest amount of money allocated from the process is destined for the Prince Rupert Library, with the Recommended level for that community service, if approved tonight, to be set at $679,000.

Ms. Bomben's notes for Council (which you can review from the Agenda package for tonight's get together) provides for an analysis of the forecast for the 2020 Operating Fund budget, with a note as to how any new revenue will be allocated towards capital projects that are ahead, with only a modest increase noted for the Community Enhancement Grant program for the year ahead.

It is expected that the City's 2020 Operating Fund budget will remain relatively similar to that of 2019. New taxation from new projects will be allocated towards the regular inflationary cost increases and the yearly decline in major industry assessment values. It is expected that this may neutralize the impact of those declines. 

New revenues obtained through this taxation or lease fees are projected to be utilized to cover the significant capital projects the City will be undertaking in the next five years which will mitigate the need for a tax increase to pay for these capital builds. 

With these expectations in mind, Finance is recommending a modest increase to the funding available for CEO's for 2020.

The report also provides a look at the amount of funding for the year ahead, which is noted to be recommended at just over 1.3 million dollars, which will make for an increase in funding of roughly 5% from last year.

The total amount of funding requested by all CEG applicants and funding by agreements is $1,405,500. 

Within this total is an increase in the amount requested by existing applicants of approximately $82,000, and $55,000 in funding requested by new applicants and repeat applicants not previously funded. 

In keeping with the City's need to maintain operations and still support the CEG with minimal taxation impacts, staff has recommended funding grants and operating agreements for a total of approximately $1,340,000. 

This is an increase in funding by the City of approximately 5% over last year.

The charts below provide for the list of applicants and what level of funding, if any, that the City has proposed for the year ahead.

(click on each chart to enlarge)

The documentation also includes a review of the Funding that is in place by Agreement with a number of organizations, with agreements for two groups;  the Museum of Northern BC and the Prince Rupert Performing Arts Centre Society noted as up for renewal.

Council members will then have opportunity to discuss the report, which will no doubt be a bit disappointing for some of those that have been left out of the funding access for another year.

Should the City's council members hold to the recommended levels from the report, seven applicants will have to seek out funding from other sources for 2020.

The report also seems to be preparing residents for any potential need for a tax increase in 2020, with one passage making note of the challenge of balancing capital project and opearting needs, with those of Community grant allocation.

Given that the Finance Department is making every effort to keep any potential tax rate increases to a minimum, it is recommended that new applicants are scrutinized to ensure Council is satisfied that any tax increase resulting from new awards is justified and worth the increase to the taxpayers should there be one.

Following the delivery of the report, Council members will the be tasked with either accepting the findings of the Financial department or providing City Staff with further guidance as to how they would prefer to distribute the funding for the year ahead.

Tonight's city council session starts at 7PM at City Hall chambers, for more notes related to the night's work ahead for the Council members see our Council preview page here.

For a review of past Council Discussion themes see our archive page here.

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

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