The City of Campbell River is changing the way they approve grant-in-aid operational funding for organizations within the community such as the Museum at Campbell River, Tidemark Theatre and the Campbell River Arts Council.
At Monday’s public meeting, council passed an amendment to their Finance Policy stating that Category 1 grants-in-aid (Core Operating Assistance) be amended to allow funding for organizations for a term of up to five years. Currently, these kinds of organizations are generally funded for terms of up to three years, unless there are concerns that funds are not being utilized properly or there are questions surrounding the organization’s ability to meet expectations.
The change is designed to allow those organizations receiving Core Operating Assistance funding to plan further ahead and be able to grow and improve their services.
However, in making that change, they are also increasing the demand on those organizations to be accountable to the taxpayer who is providing that grant money by reporting to council annually.
“At the end of the day, it’s to help us with their transparency and accountability, but also to make sure that they have the ability to move forward and plan in a little bit longer scope,” said Coun. Michele Babchuk Monday.
Along with the museum, arts council and Tidemark, the change would also effect the Campbell River & District Public Art Gallery as well as the Haig-Brown House.
Coun. Ron Kerr asked whether all these organizations would be automatically shifted to a five year cycle or whether they be looked at individually to determine whether or not they would be funded for the maximum five-year term.
“My understanding would be that council would still have the decision, after looking at the annual presentations by these organizations, to amend those agreements and amend those years,” said Myriah Foort, the city’s chief financial officer. “So if council was to feel that one of the organizations was not meeting their deliverables, council could at that point amend what that funding parameter would look like.”
The requirement to make an annual presentation to council, Babchuk said, should be looked at as an opportunity for these organizations to toot their own horn a bit, not as a chore.
“There are some huge successes that these organizations are seeing that the public doesn’t always get the opportunity to see,” Babchuk said. “So this allows for transparency and accountability for the taxpayer funding they’re seeing, but also to be able to highlight the great work they are doing within the city.”
Coun. Colleen Evans took that one step further, saying she would encourage not just these organizations, but all the other not-for-profits, as well, to come to council to present “to demonstrate all the good work being done in the community.”
Going forward, however, they will only be required to do so if they want to keep getting grants for Core Operating Assistance.