Council came a few steps closer to getting the budget ready for 2013 with the approval of the Grant in Aids budget of $350,400. Recipient groups this year include The Museum Foundation, TR Youth Centre, Lions Club, TR Cares, TR Community Arts Council, TR Police Based Victim Services, TR Seniors (Forever Young) and the Chamber of Commerce.
TR Community Arts Council has been granted $2,500, this year, on par with their grant from last year. Though there was no one present to discuss the funding, council had no objections to this request and thank the group for all the work they do in the community.
Councillor Snyder said, “Myself, I am shocked they are only asking for $2,500 for the amount of things they do in our community. They have talent events for the kids, numerous things. Myself, I would recommend the whole amount.”
The next group was the Forever Young Society who were requesting $14,800. Of this, $7,500 would be used as a salary for a new coordinator who would work from the Seniors Corner ten hours a week for $15 an hour. Ellen Sager came to speak to council and in relation to the new position she said, “If we got an information coordinator, we would provide a person to be a one-stop shop for the needs of seniors. We need a coordinator to provide first person responses to enquiries regarding government services, business services, volunteering, medical travel aid, and anything else they need.” The Grant in Aid requested by council was approved.
“I know since Lloyd Frank resigned from the Seniors’ Centre we have not had any representation from them on our Seniors Needs Committee, so we don’t receive reports anymore,” said Councillor Snyder. The topic may come up in the future that the Forever Young Society have a member sit on the Seniors Needs Committee to retain funding.
Moving on, the Lions Club requested $10,000 and this was granted with no discussion. The grant will be used to upgrade the children’s playground in the Lions campground by replacing unsafe outdated equipment.
The next group up for Grant in Aid funding was the Museum Foundation. Dave Price came to council on behalf of this group and said, “The main thing I want to do is bring you up to date on a few things that are occurring. Lisa informs me she has just signed a contract for capital projects in the amount of 0.5 million dollars. The irony is the capital projects don’t include operational funds. The upside is the capital projects include changes to the building so it does offer a fair return on investment. Moving along quite nicely is the Geopark proposal, which is directly attached to the museum. “Our concern is, you know, these are the things going forward that can benefit the town, but it is still dependant on the support and generosity of the district. We know we are working on a whole new approach with fee for services and we look forward to having that in place.” Price explained they are also trying to get the provincial government more involved and recognize their responsibility as well as receive more support from the regional district.
Price continues, “We are the repository for paleontology in British Columbia. The reality is the province of BC has never had the same attitude towards this sort of stuff as say Alberta; where you have a find and it is immediately funded. On a practical level you can’t separate the paleontology from the museum. We are getting an international reputation. People in Italy know more about the paleontology in TR than many British Columbians do.” The Museum Foundation requested $200,000 on par with previous years, which is dispersed on a quarterly basis. The foundation did only ask for half the allocation for the second quarter of 2013.
Councillor Torraville said, “They have three paid full time staff, one is a hostess, two paleontologists. I do not support two paleontologists. I would be ok with one, but not two. Those are my thoughts on this.”
Council has made a motion to keep them in the Grant in Aid list until fee for services is in place. The funds will be allocated on a quarterly basis until councils review is complete, at which times the funding could change.
Councillor Caisley said, “Council had agreed to continue on the same basis until such time as we have finished our own assessment of that. When we are finished dealing with that, the whole arrangement might change.”
CAO Barry Elliott explained staff is working on the fee for service agreement, have received a number of them and are almost ready to bring back to council. “As soon as the budget is behind us, we will be attacking the fee for service policy,” he said.
After the Museum Foundation discussion, the Tumbler Ridge Police Based Victim Services appeared to express why their request for $4,500 is important. The money will be used for workers to attend a training program down south.
McPherson said, “It is for training and I think it’s very important we have people trained for this. I have no problem with this.”
The Grant in Aid was carried with no discussion.
TR Cares request for $20,000 was also carried. Rose Colledge said, “We have two new groups come under our umbrella in the last month. One is the senior’s needs committee, which has applications to extend services and apply for new funding, as well as WIP (work in progress). We fundraise and we’ve raised this past year over $50,000 and we will be buying a van which we’ve saved up the cash for over the last three years.”
The Grant in Aid for TR Cares was carried with no objections.
Dawn Wagner was present at council to report on the Youth Services Society, which is requesting $37,100.
She said, “It’s not so much programming as it is a safe haven for them to be able to come to. It is a drop in centre. A place where they can come be with their peers, do the kinds of things they like to do. The pool table is popular, foosball. The kids don’t necessarily want structured time. They are teenagers and they do want to use the time the way they want to use it. We provide a place for them to be able to do that, where they are valued as human beings and we want them to be there as opposed to a lot of other places they could be.”
Councillor Snyder expressed a few concerns saying, “It is a vital part of the community and a great asset for the kids. I have a problem with not having as many volunteers in there and a paid position without more programming. I would like to have their hours of operation monitored to make sure they are staying to policy as I know there has been times it wasn’t open and it should have been.”
The motion was passed with a note they appear before council, provide more information and get a lease draw up with hours of operation included within.
A last minute addition to the Grant and Aid applications came up during the meeting. There still remained $55,500 in the Chamber of Commerce budget which had yet to be allocated to a section of the district budget. There has already been $30,000 allocated to offset the business license fees now going to the chamber instead of the district pot.
Candie Laporte, CFO, said, “We need to put the remainder of the request into the budget. It would be the $55,500 to deal with as a grant and aid. It is not in the budget as a line item. At this point in time, it probably fits within the grand and aid provision.”
The motion was carried and the remainder of the Chamber budget will be considered a Grant in Aid at this time.