Last week, council deliberated over which funding applications would get approved, denied, deferred or amended. Here are the results.
With budget meetings just starting to ramp up, at a committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 19, Merritt city council approved just over $37,000 in grants to various community groups and others who asked for financial help.
$18,822 was doled out in Community Initiative Grants, which serve the purpose of encouraging innovation towards council goals. The remaining $18,228 was given as grants in aid.
Only one grant was denied: a request from the Canadian Mental Health Association for $7,900 — the third largest grant on the list — for an initiative called Talk Today. Coun. Linda Brown pointed out that while the cause was a good one, the organization was in fine financial shape.
The largest single grant given out was a grant in aid worth $14,300 to the Nicola Valley Fall Fair Association for water and sewer infrastructure on Lindley Creek Road. After some discussion, council approved the funds, contingent on the project moving forward.
“I would be more than happy to help them out, but I would say that we give them the grant on contingency that this is what they’re going to use it for, so when they’re going to do it, they come to us and we give them the money,” said Coun. Dave Baker. “I’m not in favour of giving them $14,300 to put into their bank account until they have enough money to actually do the project.”
Another item that sparked discussion was a request from the Friends of the Nicola Valley Society for Civic Centre rental fees for a Jan. 30 event. The grant totaled $1,028, but staff recommended council not support the grant, “due to the political nature of the meeting.”
Coun. Mike Goetz said he didn’t have a problem supporting the group considering council had supported them in the past.
“This would be a disservice to everyone who stood out on that picket line and held that sign,” said Goetz. “We took this whole idea to UBCM, we stood with the TNRD, and now to get cheapo on this because it’s of a political nature? I’m totally fine with that, so I’m making a motion that we support this.”
Council voted in favour of Goetz’s motion.
Other requests were cut down. The British Columbia Ambassador Program asked for $1,500 for the civic centre rental for the annual pageant. Instead, council approved the same amount as last year: $1,000. The Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo asked for $13,000 ($3,250 each for financial aid, in-kind, community initiative and sponsorship grants), but council agreed on approving only the sponsorship grant.
Another $12,000 worth of grants were deferred due to a lack of information.