City of Nelson holds the line on grants

Council is being cautious because extra expenses are anticipated in the police and fire budgets.

Touchstones museum and gallery is one of six organizations to which the city gives annual operating grants.

City council decided to stick with the status quo this week and give its six funded groups the same grant they got last year, citing potential pressures on the budget stemming from police and fire department wages.

The Nelson and District Arts Council will get $2,500, the same as last year. The group had requested $5,000 for this year.

Touchstones Nelson gets $223,000, after having requested $225,000.

The Chamber of Commerce visitor centre requested $76,000 and will receive that amount.

The Cultural Development Committee, which included the Heritage working group will receive $40,000. They requested $41,150.

The Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership and the Capitol Theatre received $100,000 and $67,500 respectively, as they did last year and as they requested this year.

The Nelson Regional Sports Council requested $75,000, but will get last year’s amount of $55,000.

The sports council is a special case, not just for its large increase request, Mayor Deb Kozak told the Star, but because “we are looking for some direction in that building and instead of giving them that grant we are looking to have a clearer vision of what is going to happen there, and what the specific things that need to be upgraded are.”

Her comments refer to sports council’s recent public statements about decreasing revenue and the increasing age of the Civic Arena building, which it runs. The city plans to conduct a planning process for the facility.

Kozak said the main reason for holding the line on the grants is the possibility of some large expenses this year related to fire and police collective agreements, both several years past due. So the possibility of wage increases including retroactive payments looms large.

Also in relation to the police, the provincial director of police services report on the stalemate over last year’s budget is expected any day. That report will rule on now many police officers the city must budget for. If the police department gets what it requested, the city will have to spend another $310,000 on two additional police officers and an administration position.

 

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