Council wrestles with grants-in-aid choices

Fill in the required reports at year’s end, or risk not being considered for a grant in 2017.

Ladysmith council issued a warning for groups that received grants in aid: Fill in the required reports at year’s end, or risk not being considered for a grant in 2017.

Noting that some organizations hadn’t submitted final reports on how they used their 2015 grants by the December deadline, council said it wouldn’t be so lenient next year, then passed a motion waiving the requirement barring groups that hadn’t submitted reports from receiving funds in 2016.

Council faced a difficult job, figuring out how to whittle down a list of 30 requests from 23 organizations, totalling $152,650 to fit within the budgeted $112,000.

They managed to reduce a $40,650 overage to just $2,400, then voted to increase the grants-in-aid portion of the budget by that amount to cover the balance.

Just before that decision Coun. Rob Hutchins said Ladysmith gets much more from the community groups and organizations that are seeking grants than it costs to fund them.

“The vast majority of these societies are providing exceptional services at such a low cost to the community,” he said. “I don’t know how we continue to ask for that level of contribution and not fund it.”

The two biggest grant-in-aid recipients were the Ladysmith Community Resources Centre, which received $37,500; and the Ladysmith & District Historical Society, which received $25,500.

Council noted that the nature of applications seems to be straying from the purpose of grants-in-aid funding, and a review of the criteria and process will be conducted during the coming year.

Grants-in-aid have to be applied for every year, and are supposed to be used for projects and events. But many of the requests appear to be recurring and for ‘core’ funding, and operational in nature.

Coun. Steve Arnett said some of the functions being carried out by the Ladysmith Resources Centre should be funded by the Vancouver Island Health Authority or the provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development.