Municipal officials face approximately $482,000 worth of community grants and aid requests — more than five times the amount recommended in the 2014 budget.
On Tuesday (Jan. 14), organizations pitched their grant-in-aid and cash appeals to District of Squamish council. If officials want to stay within staff’s seven per cent municipal tax increase for this year’s budget, council will have to reduce the amount granted to $90,000.
Last year, the municipality handed out $146,360 in cash, $7,551 worth of non-cash aid and $10,671 in property tax relief. This year the district received 37 applications, breaking down into $357,944 cash grants, $111,441 in non-cash aid and $13,963 worth of property tax relief. Overall, the requests amount to a two per cent increase on taxation, Joanne Greenlees told council.
Applicants each had five minutes to pitch their requests on Tuesday. The Mamquam River Access Society asked for $15,000 and $73,780 in aid to build a new campground in Squamish. Illegal camping plagues the community, John Harvey said. The municipality’s current campground provides no privacy for campers and climbers simply aren’t using it, he noted.
The association is suggesting it apply for a Crown lease on land across from the Squamish Valley Rod and Gun Club. The site is a derelict industrial topsoil recycling facility that has been abandoned for more than a decade, Harvey said.
Some of the big-ticket requests included Squamish Search and Rescue Society, Squamish Helping Hands Society, Squamish BMX and the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association. Search and Rescue is looking for $70,000 to replace water rescue and personal protective equipment, while the biking groups want $60,000 to maintain trails.
Squamish Helping Hands requested $25,000 for cash to fund it transition phase for its new facility on Wilson Crescent.
Council will review the request during its budget discussions.