Ladysmith council took its first collective look at the grant-in-aid funding requests for 2013 on March 4 and was faced with $152,150 in requests from community groups and organizations.
Each year, grants for social, cultural and recreational services and activities and for special events are provided by council on behalf of Ladysmith taxpayers.
Only not-for-profit organizations are eligible for grants-in-aid, and this year, council received 26 applications requesting $152,150 in total. The Town’s proposed budget for grants-in-aid for 2013 is $114,100.
Grant-in-aid funding comes directly from property tax payers, and any changes to the proposed budget for these grants will either reduce or increase the amount of property taxes levied for 2013, financial services director Erin Anderson noted in her staff report.
Over the past five years, the amount of grant-in-aid funding provided to various organizations has increased, rising from $76,226 in 2008 to $114,100 in 2012.
“Unfortunately, the ask is usually far higher than the funds available to us,” noted Mayor Rob Hutchins.
Councillors referred the grant-in-aid requests from the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA) for Youth at Risk, Family Support, and General Programming to staff for review and for clarification of the budget figures provided after raising concerns about the funding requests from the LRCA.
Coun. Steve Arnett pointed out that the LRCA received 36 per cent of the Town’s total grants-in-aid budget in 2012, and he also expressed concern that some of those funds are going to support activities that he feels should be funded by the provincial government.
“I support the work they do, but I have some concerns about anything that should be provincially funded and is downloaded,” he said. “I wish nothing but well for this society. They do nothing but good things, but there are 15 other agencies here asking for less money.”
Hutchins expressed concern that the budget figures for some provincial government funding do not match the contract amounts the LRCA provided in its unaudited financial statements and asked for clarification about the LRCA’s budget figures that were provided with the application.
Further consideration is required regarding the three LRCA requests — which were $12,000 for Youth at Risk, $12,000 for Family Support, and $12,000 for General Programming — but council did make some interim recommendations during the March 4 meeting, totalling $73,750 in funding.
These interim recommendations include:
• Ladysmith Community Gardens Society — $1,000 for drip irrigation
• Festival of Lights Society — $12,000
• Ladysmith and District Historical Society Museum — $10,000
• Ladysmith and District Historical Society Archives — $20,000
• Arts on the Avenue — $1,000
• Ladysmith RCMP Community Policing — $1,000
• Ladysmith and District Accountability Program — $1,000
• Ladysmith Fire/Rescue Auto Evolutions — $1,500
• Ladysmith Fire/Rescue Santa Claus Parade — $1,000
• Arts Council of Ladysmith and District — $1,000
• Arts Council of Ladysmith and District — $2,500 for disability access
• Ladysmith Show and Shine — $500
•Ladysmith Ambassador Program — $1,000
• Cowichan Family Caregivers Support Society — $750
• Ladysmith Citizens on Patrol — $1,500
•Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association — $1,000
• St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church — $500 for their Open Table dinners
• LRCA — Victim Services — $11,000
• Ladysmith and District Marine Rescue Society — $1,500
•Ladysmith Intermediate School Parent Advisory Council — $1,000
• Ladysmith Maritime Society Festival Events — $1,500
• Ladysmith Maritime Society Heritage Initiatives — $1,000
•Ladysmith Secondary School Frank Jameson Bursary — $1,500
Once council approves the organizations’ requests and the Town’s financial plan bylaws are adopted in May, funding will be provided to the successful applicants.