Town looking to improve community grant process

Town planners are looking at ways of giving residents a chance to apply for grant money for community projects.

Town planners are looking at ways of giving residents a chance to apply for grant money for community projects.

Town councillors were presented with a draft of three grant applications during their regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 28. The information itemized three potential avenues for a grant, one of which is in use.

Financial Sponsorship Program: (current) Used for recreation and culture with a total of $5,000 budgeted.

Community Development and Culture Grant Program: This new program is intended to support local programs that enhance the quality of life in Ponoka. A total of $10,000 is recommended for the 2015 budget.

Major Grant Program: No money is reserved for this new program, which is intended to deal with funding requests greater than what is set aside in the previous two.

Coun. Teri Underhill suggested council should approve these requests rather than administration. She said that was one idea discussed by councillors.

Wes Amendt, director of community services, said they hope to write a new policy to include all three options. As an example, he said the first option was written so that council would not have to approve every single request that came in.

“We’re trying to standardize how the requests come to council,” said Amendt.

He used the City of Lacombe’s grant process, which is offered on a first-come-first-served basis.

“We envision that ,in the regular budget year, these funds will be allocated quite quickly,” said CAO Rachel Kunz.

She says council could get a list of approved applicants within a few months of opening up the grant applications.

“It’s nice to know that we did sponsor these people so that they can be recognized publicly,” said Mayor Rick Bonnett

“With this Major Grant Program, we’re going to try to put some money in it this year,” added Betty Quinlan, director of corporate services.

As this is still in draft form, there may be some adjustments to the policies. The first policy allows for a $1,000 grant if a group is hosting a provincial event and $500 for an individual attending a major event such as a nationals sports challenge.

No decisions were made on the item.