City of Prince Rupert to seek public input on community enhancement grants

Community groups in Prince Rupert will have to wait to find out how much money they will receive from the City of Prince Rupert.

Community groups in Prince Rupert will have to wait to find out how much money they will receive from the City of Prince Rupert.

City staff were looking for direction from council about the 2014 community enhancement grants, something city manager Robert Long said will help with the budget process that is to come.

“It is expected the city’s 2014 operating fund revenues will remain about the same. Cost pressures will include general inflation, benefit cost increases, energy cost increases and possible negotiated wage increases,” he told council.

Although council voted to have presentations from the “big six” — the golf course, Tourism Prince Rupert, the Prince Rupert Economic Development Commission, the Museum of Northern B.C., the library and the Lester Centre — but not smaller groups, how to handle the individual requests was tabled until December to meet a commitment made during the last budget process.

“One thing we wanted was to receive public input on what people saw as priorities, what the felt was important and what was not … we did promise in the spring that we would have at least one public meeting in the fall or winter to get that input,” said Councillor Anna Ashley, noting delaying any decision until after the Nov. 16 byelection also made sense.

“I think it would be good if we had a full council at the table, and i think one meeting should be adequate.”

Councillor Joy Thorkelson supported putting off making any decision, wanting city staff to give council a better idea of the financial position of the city.

“We need to have some discussion, but to do that I think we need to have some idea of what the budget looks like and what some of the challenges may be,” she said.

“In my opinion the community grants are about as low as they can get, but they are part of the budget process.”

This year, community groups are seeking a total $143,743, which is up from $100,075 handed out last year., When the grants sought by the “big six” are taken into account, the total rises from $1.41 million last year to $1.53 million this year.

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