Seven community groups made presentations to Nelson city council on Monday, asking for their annual grant from the city.
The city gives annual funding to organizations that either occupy city-owned building or are committees of council. Combined, the funding to these groups is about 3.5 per cent of the city’s total operational budget of$16 million.
The Nelson and District Arts Council requested $5,000 this year, double the amount it received last year. The city contributes about ten per cent of the arts council’s funding. The organization runs Artwalk and administers artist grants provided by the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance.
Touchstones Nelson requested $225,000, which would be a 0.9 per cent increase over last year’s grant of $223,000. The city’s grant provides 55 per cent of Touchstones’ funding and executive director Leah Best reported that the city’s portion goes to annual increases for fixed expenses — utilities, maintenance contracts,taxes, and inflation (1.4 per cent) plus a salary increase for staff (not management).
The Chamber of Commerce visitor centre requested $76,000, the same as the group has received each year since 2007. This amounts to about two-thirds of the visitor centre’s income. Executive director Tom Thomson reported that the centre ran a loss of $19,000 in 2015, and attributed this to Hall St. construction which limited access to the centre in the midst of tourist season.
The Cultural Development Committee, which is funded entirely by the city, received $40,000 last year and requested $41,150 this year, a 2.8 per cent increase.
The Nelson Regional Sports Council requested $75,000, an increase from last year’s grant of $55,000, to fund the hiring of a part time executive director and cover inflation. City funding provides about 30 per cent of the sports council’s income. The group runs the arena and other sports facilities in the Civic Centre. Group representative Steve Kobs reported declining use of the Civic ice surface puts the future of the sports council and the arena itself in jeopardy. The Star will be publishing a separate story on this issue.
The Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership requested $100,000, the same as last year. The partnership is funded entirely by the city and Regional District of Central Kootenay, with the city’s contribution amounting to about 63 per cent of the total.
The Capitol Theatre requested $67,500, the same as last year. This amounts to about 14 per cent of the Capitol’s funding. Executive director Stephanie Fischer said city funding pays for building maintenance, utilities,wages, lower ticket prices and lower rental rates. She said the theatre’s deficit has been reduced from $53,000 in 2012 to $9,742 in 2014 and $4,100 in 2015.
Decisions about these requests will be made during the council’s ongoing budget deliberations this spring.