It’s the most difficult part of the budget process, said District of Squamish officials. But with close to $70,000 more grant requests than money in the pot, council were forced to pull out the axe.
Some of the first organizations to fall from the block were the Sea to Sky Community Services, Squamish Volunteer Centre Society and Squamish Counselling Services. During the 2013 budget discussions on Monday, March 18, Committee of the Whole didn’t back the community service’s $10,000 community grant request, volunteer centre’s $26,419 bid or counselling services’ $10,000.
For the first time in the budgeting process, applicants seeking permissive tax exemptions were included in the total community grant allocation. Six groups filed under that request, totalling $26,015. The Squamish Flying Club’s bid for an $8,000 tax exemption failed, as did the Squamish Valley Rod and Gun Club’s $3,813 request.
The Squamish Legion’s $5,500 tax exemption request followed the same fate. Although all three groups add to the community, ultimately they are private clubs, Coun. Doug Race said.
Not everyone was in favour of the move. Coun. Ron Sander rebutted that the flying club aids the airport and the Legion contributes to Squamish more than it receives. Anything with the word “club” in its name should support itself, Coun. Susan Chapelle said. Coun. Patricia Heintzman agreed.
“Kudos to the [Squamish] Yacht Club that didn’t apply this year,” she said.
The Squamish Off-road Cycling Association (SORCA) swiftly rode through the process and came out with its $60,000 community grant request. As the largest figure in the bid pool, the request was misleading, Coun. Bryan Raiser said, noting the trail maintenance dollars could be including in the district’s economic development or recreation budget.
“It is the only ask that directly brings more money into this community,” he said. “It is the most used recreational infrastructure in this community.”
Overall, officials managed to whittle the 32 grant applications, totalling $286,417, down to the staff recommended figure of $165,228.