Non-profit grants on hold until New Year

Local non-profit organizations will have to hold their breath until the New Year, to see if they qualify for funding from the city.

Fort St. John City Councilors discussed grant-in-aid allocations at Monday afternoon’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Director of Legislative and Administrative Services Janet Prestley says many organizations have been contacting City Hall, to see if their requests have been approved or not.

But, Mayor Bruce Lantz suggested waiting until the New Year to make a final decision on funding distribution.

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City Manager Dianne Hunter, however, warned councilors that some organizations are depending on the requested grants for payroll.

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But, Mayor Lantz hinted that the city might have to wean organizations off the funding beginning in 2011. He says grant-in-aids were initially designed to get non-profits ‘off the ground.’

On Monday, Councilors voted unanimously to delay funding decisions until the first council meeting of 2010, slated for January 11th. Mayor Lantz says the city will then decide whether or not to implement a funding cap, similar to other cities in the province.

To compare, the City of Williams Lake hands out $35,000 annually, while the City of Port Alberni distributes up to $20,000 per year.

Fort St. John gave out nearly $836,000 in funding in 2009, to 17 organizations. For 2010, 18 groups have asked for more than a million dollars in combined funding.

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