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Council wrangles with funding community grant requests

Some tempers flared at Shire Hall Tuesday night in a fevered attempt by council to support community organizations seeking grants.

Councillors had 18 requests totalling $512,797 but a budget of just over 291,700 to spend.

A detailed process of straw and majority votes in stages followed to eliminate, approve or seek further discussion on reduced requests.

The first round saw three groups eliminated from this year’s list – County FM Radio 99.3, the Curling Club and the National Air Force Museum of Canada – cutting $41,000.

Using suggestions of reductions from councillors first to speak up for the 13 remaining requests, another $52,500 was shaved off the tally.

Councillors approved the $75,000 funding request from the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation, but decided it will be funded from the reserve recently set up for the hospital’s construction.

The $61,797 requested (for each of the next five years) by the University Hospitals of Kingston Foundation, was deferred to begin in 2019.

Councillor Barry Turpin had suggested delaying the Kingston hospitals funding for a year to alleviate the pressure on the budget.

Councillor Bill Roberts agreed noting Turpin’s approach was the “first conversation about strategy and managing the limited resources that we have as opposed to playing whack-a-mole and fast-hands Eddy to get your hand up to vote for a grant.” He noted he spoke with representatives from the Kingston Foundation and learned they would be open to a deferral, “so that supports councillor Turpin’s position and it gets us out of a sticky wicket.”

Councillor Jamie Forrester stated he didn’t want to see any more funds shaved off the requests.

Councillor Lenny Epstein noted council in future should separate the Kingston hospitals and Prince Edward County hospital from the grants process.

The next council, he said, should “attack the capital campaign for the local hospital as well as put something sustainable aside for the Kingston hospitals. To have these grants competing against these arts and culture and social services organizations doesn’t make sense. We can remedy this next year.”

Several also thought the Glenwood and Wellington cemeteries funding should be part of the council’s budget, instead of the grant process.

Now seeing a surplus of $5,963, Mayor Robert Quaiff proposed a motion be made to approve the remaining requests in one fell swoop. The vote was approved in a 9-5 decision.

“Everything on that board affects our community on a social value and it’s really hard to get rid of any,” he said. “There’s a lot of great value and it represents community to me.”

Some councillors expecting further discussion on each of the requests, expressed concern with the process.

“We’ve went to great lengths to set up a process for this,” said Janice Maynard. “Not more than a few minutes ago we had every indication we would go back to these. So if this is a process in expediency, I guess we get where we’re supposed to be. But if this is good hard look at each particular item up there, this is a travesty.”

Councillor Steve Ferguson expressed the importance of supporting the community and noted he had telephoned many of the applicants following their asks at the council meeting to gauge ‘wiggle room’ and the effect of not receiving their full funding requests.

“Most have incredible need and create an environment in Prince Edward County that makes this place what we want it to be,” he said. “Many of them are dealing with future generations – the Sophiasburgh Hub, the Chamber’s job development and particularly the ROC and what they’re doing for youth. If we don’t support these organizations we potentially affect future generations and we dishearten their volunteers. A lot of these organizations require volunteers and they need to know they have the support of the municipality behind them as much as we can.”

Funding has been approved for:
Prince Edward Arts Council $12,000
Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory $5,000
Prince Edward County Chamber of Commerce $15,000
Community Development Council of Quinte $10,000
The Edith Fox Life and Loss Centre $6,000
Festival Players $10,000
Glenwood Cemetery $60,000
Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital $75,000 (from the hospital construction reserve)
Regent Theatre $25,000
ROC $40,000
Community Hub $75,000
The Hope Centre $10,000
Volunteer & Information Quinte $2,500
Wellington Cemetery Board $12,000

Click here to see the original funding requests and reasons, as well as previous support from council.

 

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  1. Gary says:

    So curious how the process grants $10,000 to Festival Players and our not for profit community radio station receives nothing?

  2. Chuck says:

    Hmm. How do you review, debate and cut some and then let the others fly through with no discussion? Would appear the process needs some work.

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