Kings County council refers debate on grants to organizations changes to October

Kirk Starratt
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Kings County councillors have put off discussion about changes to grants to organizations policy until October.

Some councillors are concerned changes proposed to the grants to organizations policy could be casting too wide a net. Kings County council voted at the June committee of the whole session to refer discussion on policy amendments until October.

Chief Administrative Officer Tom MacEwan said the municipality has the ability to make grants to certain organizations under the Municipal Government Act. However, the county’s current grants to organizations policy limits the municipality to providing grants to organizations that provide one or more of seven services.

MacEwan said council has set priorities through its grants to organizations policy. However, if you look at the priorities set by council during the budget process, such as economic development and tourism, “it’s not there.”

“The oddest one on that list is animal control,” MacEwan said. “I can’t see the rationale of having the list of seven.”

Other items identified on the list include policing; school breakfast programs, emergency measures, culture, historical and heritage. MacEwan said he’s suggesting an open application process, weighing applications against the municipality’s stated priorities.

“It’s not a good solution to simply give an equal share of the pot to each applicant,” he said.

MacEwan said bigger asks are made of council through the budget process and “there are built-in checks and balances” taking the whole picture into account. He said organizations receiving funding from the municipality from other programs are not eligible to apply under grants to organizations.

MacEwan said “proportional sharing” by councillors wouldn’t change. Each of the 11 councillors currently gets to make recommendations on how to spend an equal portion of the grants to organizations budget, although council makes the final decision.

Deputy Warden Brian Hirtle said the list of organizations seeking grants gets longer without any policy modification and “I wonder if this is the right vehicle.” Drawing attention to the municipality’s limited resources, Coun. Pauline Raven said, “I think it’s not wise to cast too wide a net.”

Coun. Mike Ennis said he thinks the proposed changes are “a little too broad.” He said it “might be a nightmare for staff” and it would “take hours of debate by council.”

“It’s too bad we couldn’t replace a few items on the old list with new ones,” Ennis said.

Coun. Wayne Atwater moved to refer the matter to October to get more ideas from councillors incorporated into the proposed amendments.

 

Who could receive municipal grants?

Under the Municipal Government Act, county council can provide grants to organizations including a society within the meaning of the Children and Family Services Act; a mental health clinic in receipt of financial assistance from the province; an exhibition held by an educational institution in the municipality; a club, association or exhibition within the meaning of the Agriculture and Marketing Act; any charitable nursing, medical, athletic, educational, environmental, cultural, community, fraternal, recreational, religious, sporting or social organization within the province; a day care licensed under the Day Care Act; a registered Canadian charitable organization or a village.

Organizations: Kings County council, Children and Family Services

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