CORNWALL – The days of councillors wheeling and dealing during budget time to get money for their favourite community group are done.
City council approved a new policy for municipal grants to outside agencies – also known as community agencies – at its meeting Monday night.
Instead of a budget committee handling submissions, a municipal grants review committee will be given a $200,000 budget and will review all applications based on merit.
The new rules include caps. There will be a $10,000 limit on financial and in-kind assistance combined. It’s $30,000 for organizations seeking a grant to secure upper level government funding, such as the seniors centers.
The six-member committee, which reviews the applications, will have five voting members – three councillors appointed by the mayor and two city staff appointed by the CAO – plus a recording secretary.
CFO Tracey Bailey says the new policy goes “one step further” by establishing rules for partnerships on capital projects of more than $100,000, called a Community Partnership Program. No money has been set aside this year for the program.
Councillors who were part of the working group to revamp the program seem pretty satisfied with the results.
Coun. Claude McIntosh says it streamlines the process. “It’s better, it’s fairer. There are no guarantees there. Just because you get the money once, doesn’t mean you get it a second time,” he said.
Coun. Dean Hollingsworth added that it will be “far more predictable” with policies in place and takes the politics out of the equation.
Since this year’s program was delayed due to the extensive review, applications for grants this year will be accepted starting on Feb. 10 and closing on March 9.
After that, it will go back to the original time of the month of September for submissions for the following year.
“You will recall at our last budget…we all said to ourselves and publicly that it would be the last time we would be doing things that way,” Mayor Bernadette Clement reflected. “And guess what? We are standing by what we said.”
Last year, the city gave out $50,720 to outside or community agencies and $80,300 in in-kind services.