Seven community organizations in Salmon Arm will be receiving grants-in-aid to assist them with COVID-19 shortfalls and expenditures.
Groups were permitted to apply for up to $10,000 under council’s COVID 19 Safe Restart Grants in Aid, which council topped at a total of $50,000.
Seven organizations applied and all met the requirements. However, the total requested was $54,374, more than $4,000 over the amount council allocated.
In trying to determine during council’s July 26 meeting how best to allocate the funds and keep the total at $50,000, Mayor Alan Harrison suggested providing the two groups with the lowest requests – the Shuswap Food Action Society at $2,000 and the Shuswap Lifeboat Society at $2,374 – their full amount and dividing the reduction needed between the other five organizations.
Those five: Canadian Mental Health Association-Shuswap/Revelstoke; Columbia Shuswap Selkirk Swim Club Society; Salmar Community Association; Salmon Arm Tennis Club and Shuswap Immigrant Services Society each requested $10,000. Their allocations would then be more than $9,000 each. (For request details, go to pg. 36 of council agenda.)
Harrison later stepped out during a direct vote on the tennis club due to conflict of interest guidelines.
Coun. Tim Lavery offered another suggestion, emphasizing that all the organizations are important and each does good work. He suggested providing the full amount requested to five organizations and having the two organizations which have club memberships share the reduction needed. That would give the tennis club and the swim club close to $8,000 each.
Coun. Chad Eliason then proposed an idea that was supported by all those present. (Couns. Kevin Flynn and Debbie Cannon were absent.) Eliason’s idea was to take the $4,000 shortfall out of the council initiatives fund, which contained about $22,500 and can be used at council’s discretion. That would mean that all seven groups would get what they requested while council would be matching only 10 per cent of the provincially sourced funding.
He added: “We’re really, really, really, really bad at micro-managing these grants and trying to find out who gets what and who takes from where…”
Eliason said this, instead, would be an easy solution that all of council would be able to support.