Council decided to turn a $5,000 grant request from Halloween Family Fun Night into a budget line item to fund fireworks on an annual basis. (File photo)

Council decided to turn a $5,000 grant request from Halloween Family Fun Night into a budget line item to fund fireworks on an annual basis. (File photo)

COVID makes some of the 2021 grant decisions for Princeton council

Municipality doles out funds while striving to meet policy

Pandemic restrictions affected how the Town of Princeton decided to distribute Grants In Aid for 2021, according to Mayor Spencer Coyne.

Council held a special meeting Thursday, Feb. 25, to consider local grant requests.

“COVID made some of the decisions for us,” he said.

The municipality received applications totaling $51,000, against a budget of $25,000.

The meeting where the decisions were made was not live streamed in the same way as regular council meetings, and the gallery was closed to the public under pandemic rules.

The Princeton Rodeo Club requested $3,000 for general revenue, however, that event has already been cancelled because of COVID.

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, held each year in August, asked for $6,500 for sound equipment and food vouchers for visiting participants.

The application was denied.

“You can’t have crowds, and they are talking about 150 musicians coming into the community to gather,” said Coyne.

“There’s no way they can function as a music festival under current guidelines…or even if we were under last summer’s rules.

“I think everyone was being optimistic.”

The largest grant, $7,500 for Princeton and District Community Social Services, was awarded to help jump start a new Meals on Wheels program.

“We decided to help them,” said Coyne.

“We want to see that get off the ground if that’s possible. I don’t want to speak for the rest of council, but for me I see it as a one time thing.”

Council’s deliberations reflected an updated Grant In Aid policy, adopted last year.

The funding is designated for seed and special projects, and organizations can only receive dollars three out of every four years.

“At some point these programs should be self-sustainable. The taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for these things all of the time,” Coyne said.

With that in mind, council voted to move several applications, which are put forward each year by the same groups, to individual expense lines on the annual budget.

A $5,000 Princeton Arts Council contribution will be funded outside of the Grants In Aid program, while a $5,000 stake in the Halloween Family Fun Night fireworks will become the municipality’s responsibility.

A request from the Princeton Seniors’ Centre for $5,600 for a new furnace was also absorbed into the budget rather than being resolved with a grant.

“We own the building so we are moving that to capital expenses,” Coyne said.

“It’s our building. It’s our responsibility.”

The Support Our Health Care Society asked for $1,100 to produce a brochure of local health services and contacts.

Council decided to assist by taking the project’s printing in-house.

The Kokanee Summer Swim Club asked $2,250 for coaches certificate fees, and that file was settled in an unusual way.

“The swim club has an outstanding balance on their pool time from last year, so we are gong to write off their debt to the town,” said Coyne.

The town granted $2,000 towards the start up of a local lacrosse league.

That application was made by James Graham, Princeton’s director of finance, who had requested $10,000.

Graham, who was present for most of the meeting, left the council chambers for the discussion.

Coyne said the town has reserved $5,500 of its Grant In Aid budget to address needs that may arise in the coming months.

“We’ve left it in there in case maybe COVID does get better we can use it for something else, at some time.”

The special meeting of council, where the decisions were made, was not live streamed in the same way as regular meetings and the gallery was closed to the public under pandemic rules.

Related: Proposed tax increase for 2021 amounts to $30 for the average household

Related: Princeton business owners already applying for improvement grants

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:mailto:andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com


 
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Council has left some grant money in reserves in case there is a need later in the year. File photo

Council has left some grant money in reserves in case there is a need later in the year. File photo