Community groups jockey for smaller pot of funds in Esquimalt

Town council doles out less grant money to help ease tax burden

‘Difficult’ doesn’t quite sum up the recent job of Esquimalt’s elected leaders when they doled out a smaller pot of grant money to a long list of “inspiring” community groups, schools and organizations in need.

“It was really tough,” said Coun. Meagan Brame, chair of the local grants committee that vetted the list of applicants. “I hated it.”

In an effort to reduce the tax burden for property tax owners and keep to a zero-per-cent tax increase for 2012, council opted earlier this year to trim the annual community grants budget by 20 per cent, to $95,033.

On Monday night, council approved the list of recipient groups and organizations that will each receive a chunk from the pot of $85,530. The remaining $9,503 could potentially be shelled out later in the year in response to last-minute funding requests.

Esquimalt’s local grants committee received funding applications totalling $150,049 this year, which could not be accommodated.

This year, 35 organizations, including five public schools, will receive money. Three groups did not make the cut.

The Victoria Rainbow Kitchen Society, which relocated to Esquimalt from Vic West this spring, will receive half of its $20,000 request. Grants to be distributed range from $12,130 (Macaulay school parent advisory council) to $500 (Gorge Waterway).

Groups focusing on youth, and organizations that directly benefit the township were favoured. The grants committee also considered whether applicants have been given permissive tax exemptions.

“You want to give to everyone. They’re great organizations, they’re so inspiring,” Brame said. “We had to balance it so we could spread it out as much as we could.

We know they do a lot of good, but there’s so many places that do so much good.”

emccracken@vicnews.com

By the numbers:

Esquimalt community grant payments: in 2012: $95,033

2011: $114,352

2010: $115,556

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