By Cole Parkinson
Town of Taber administration has proposed a few changes to their Community Grant Program after assessing how it has functioned for the past several years.
At council’s regular meeting on June 25, council were brought up to date on what exactly has been proposed in regard to changes to the program.
“We had anticipated this community grant program functioning in a certain way and when we put it into action over the last couple of years, it hasn’t exactly functioned as we anticipated it would. We are looking for an amendment to the policy and procedure,” CAO Cory Armfelt.
The Community Grant Program was initially introduced in 2014 and the process was developed as a way to streamline requests from groups or organizations into one main timeframe and process.
The biggest reason for implementing the program was due to numerous requests to council and those involved thought there needed to be a better process to include the rec board.
Currently, the Recreation Board reviews those requests in September and then submits recommendations to council after.
“It was brought to the rec board’s awareness that after we had approved the certain waivers or grants that came through, that there were grants coming to you guys afterwards. I thought that they would be coming back to the rec board and once we looked into it, we found that it wasn’t the case,” said Danielle Hansen, chair of the Recreation Board. “It caused a bit of a problem because we go through all of these waivers at the beginning of the year and we take into consideration the history and everything else. It was brought to my attention by one of the groups that have gone through filling out the forms who said ‘why do we need to when we can wait and go straight to council.’”
With the rec board being bypassed, they say that “the original intent of the Council Discretionary Fund was to meet the needs of groups who did not qualify for the Community Grant Program or to address emergency requests that would not have been anticipated.”
With applications coming in during September, the rec board has ideas to push the date back in order to give organizations more time especially coming off the summer where many boards don’t meet.
“The recreation board has identified a later date in the fall for the applications to allow that the organizations that have not met in the summer a month to decide what they want for the year as well the school groups,” said Aline Holmen, Town of Taber recreation director.
Another proposed change the delegation was hoping council would be in favour of was re-allocating some funds for the program.
“Another one would be to see if we could allocate $25,000 for the community grant program within the recreation budget,” added Holmen.
Council seemed to agree with the changes brought forward by the Recreation Board.
They were especially in favour of reshaping the Community Grant Program so organizations would first go through the board.
“I concur with the recreation board. I’ve asked a number of times when these one-off situations came to council why they weren’t going through the rec board. These items should be handled through the recreation department,” said Coun. Joe Strojwas.
The delegation also stated that they were willing to hold special meetings on top of their one a month meetings if it was a time-sensitive issue.
A motion was made to approve revisions to the Community Grant Program policy and authorizes administration to allocate $25,000 in the 2019 recreation budget.
The motion was approved unanimously by council.