City endorses expanded grant funding program
City council has endorsed entering into a 10-year agreement in order to access grant funding from the newly expanded federal Gas Tax Fund.
Campbell River is expected to receive $1.3 million each year of the agreement with payments made biannually – once in July and once in November.
This year, the federal government has expanded the program so municipalities have a broader range of projects they can opt to use the funds for.
Dennis Brodie, the city’s finance operations supervisor, said in the past, the city had to be selective in applying for Gas Tax funding.
“The ability to use these funds has in the past been somewhat limited by the strict criteria placed on the funds,” Brodie said. “The new agreement expands the eligible projects considerably and will be a valuable funding source for many new infrastructure projects the city will be undertaking over the lifetime of the agreement.”
Under the new agreement, eligible projects include:
- Public transit
- Drinking water
- Waste water
- Solid waste
- Amateur sport infrastructure
- Recreational infrastructure
- Tourism infrastructure
- Disaster mitigation
Ineligible projects include leasing of equipment, overhead, land purchases, legal fees, routine repair and maintenance costs.
According to Brodie, Gas Tax funds have been “heavily relied on” by the city to fund past capital projects.
Last year, the city used $86,000 in Gas Tax monies to buy two new hybrid vehicles – one for use as the city’s land use department’s field vehicle and the other as a command vehicle for the fire department.
Also in 2013, Gas Tax funds of $40,000 were used to rehabilitate the city’s shoreline between Discovery Harbour and Rotary Beach following damage from a recent storm.
And in 2010, the city used $489,039 in Gas Tax funding to put in the green roof at city hall, which is covered with native plants.
The federal Gas Tax Fund has provided Canadian communities with $13 billion since its inception in 2006.
Under the new and expanded plan, the Gas Tax Fund is expected to provide close to $22 billion in funding for municipalities.