Terrace city council boosts grants thanks to surplus

City council has dipped into its surplus to finalize how much money community groups and services should get this year

City council has dipped into its surplus to finalize how much money community groups and services should get this year.

It also added some groups left off of a provisional list submitted by city administrators and adjusted requests made by other groups.

The most adjustments took place within the city’s community grants program which originally had a budget limit of $81,718, now raised to $86,497,

It also moved $26,497 from that amount for the Provincial Networking Group’s city clean-up program to another program.

Council added $5,000 to the community grants program, mainly for the Helping Hands of Terrace Society, so it can buy a trailer for sorting out cans and bottles for returns, making for a total grant amount of $15,295.

“We recycle between 35,000 and 50,000 cans and bottles a month,” society representative Ron Ramsey told council Feb. 18 after being asked to explain his request.

He said his charity generated $40,000 last year, money that helps seniors in need pay for prescription drugs and medical trips not covered by their general health insurance. The society had originally asked for $23,500.

Another late adjustment came in the form of $5,000 for the Skeena Diversity Society for a welcoming program for newcomers.

The society was not included in the provisional approval list considered by council several weeks ago.

Not making the final cut was the Kalum Community School Society which had wanted $10,000 to build garden boxes and buy topsoil for a garden which helps feed families in need.

Councillor Brian Downie said the society needed to do more organization to make this particular garden program something the city would want to finance.

The Kermode Friendship Society was also denied a grant to help pay its property tax. According to city staffers, the organization missed the deadline to apply for property tax relief though another city program.

Volunteer Terrace was one of the groups which had its request reduced – it wanted $10,000 but instead was granted $7,500, partly because it was requesting money for volunteer snow removal, which is something the city pays for through other streams.

The Northwest Latin Group Society was denied $1,500 to put on a community fiesta.

Councillor Stacey Tyers said that in its budget the group had put $3,000 in a community donation category. She wondered why it asked the city for a donation if it could give that much away to others.

Another group left off the list and that is hoping for another form of help is the Terrace Art Gallery which originally asked for $12,000 to put in a new carpet in their two-level space on the bottom floor of the library building.

After determining that new carpets are a matter of “civic pride”, council decided to have the requested amount shifted to the public works budget for consideration.

Other groups denied included Terrace Community Justice which wanted $22,500 for overall operations, training and remunerating volunteers and the Terrace Peaks Gymnastic Club which wanted $25,000 to help expand its gymnasium space attached to the Thornhill Community Centre.

The city is helping the former through waiving rental fees at the Sportsplex for a fundraiser.

Shifting to a separate category for larger-budget services council is going to finance all of a $20,000 capital request by the Terrace and District Museum Society to hire a specialized contractor for continued upkeep of the pioneer log structures at Heritage Park.

The museum society is getting an operating budget increase from $73,000 last year to $80,573 this year and an archiving budget increase to $10,000 this year from $6,500 this year, making for a total of $110,513 for capital, operating and archiving.

The museum society is one of the local agencies also financed by taxes from Thornhill and the rural area surrounding Terrace through the regional district.

Thornhill regional district director Ted Ramsey had said the museum’s proposed increase was too much compared to last year and that he could not go over the 2014 limit of $29,093.

It means the city will now shoulder more of the overall cost of the museum society.

Requests made by other larger agencies have already been approved  – $120,000 for the Kermode Tourism Society, $165,000 for the Terrace Economic Development Authority, $615,173 for operating and $15,000 for capital by the Terrace Public Library and $92,100 for the George Little House which also serves as the VIA station.