Central Saanich’s special administration and finance committee has approved a total of $96,425 for the District’s 2015 grant-in-aid applications, including $20,000 to the Boys and Girls Club and $17,500 to the Saanich Pioneer Society.
A total of 27 grants were approved by the committee —the majority between $500 and $5,000 — with preference going to organizations based in Central Saanich and those that have a direct effect on the District.
Though the District has no official limit on how much can be allocated for grants-in-aid, the committee had agreed to use one per cent of property taxes — $136,300 — as a guideline in deciding their totals.
The committee also agreed, after some discussion, to use the median of the councillors’ suggested amounts, rather than a weighted average, predominantly because of Councillor Chris Graham’s choice to allocate $0 to each submission which substantially brought down the average amounts.
Graham had submitted late written correspondence outlining a number of reasons explaining his decision to not support the allocation of any funds through the grant process. He stated he does not believe council is following the current “Grants-in-Aid” policy and that council does not have the expertise to allocate the funds without being subject to personal biases. He added that the majority of funds given out over the years are recurring and funding operating budgets, rather than specific projects.
A better course of action, he said, would be to explore seed funding and special projects funding.
He further emphasized the money council allocates out should be prioritized back into Central Saanich, something he said is not happening adequately.
The committee also approved a motion from Mayor Ryan Windsor to defer the grant request for $10,000 from the Peninsula Streams Society to council’s next meeting to discuss the possibility of including the funding as a supplemental 2015 budget item, rather than through grants-in-aid.
Windsor suggested that, as the District does not have an environmental department, the Peninsula Streams Society could provide environmental services in lieu of an internal department.
Should council end up not approving the inclusion of the Peninsula Streams Society into the supplemental budget, the Society’s original request will go back to the finance committee for approval through grants-in-aid.
The committee also asked that District staff provide a list of the organizations that have received funding through the grants-in-aid program for the past five years to give council the opportunity to consider whether any of the organizations could be considered for the supplemental 2016 budget.
Council was expected to ratify the grant allocations at Monday’s meeting, after the News Review’s deadline.