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Corner Brook cuts its community grants by more than $100,000

“It wasn’t a slash-and-burn program to eliminate grants.” Bernd Staeben
“It wasn’t a slash-and-burn program to eliminate grants.” Bernd Staeben

Deputy Mayor Bernd Staeben says the City of Corner Brook did not set out with a mindset to slash community grants by one-third of what it gave in 2016.

Still, the final number accounted for in the 2017 budget brought down earlier this week is $250,000, well below the $353,000 in the previous budget.

The numbers do fluctuate from year to year, but the 2017 amount is the lowest to be given since $219,000 in 2012. The donations include money given to the Corner Brook Stream Development Association, and last year’s figures did include money for work on the Bartlett’s Point development.

Staeben, who chairs the city’s finance committee, said the lower amount this year is a reflection of the city being a bit stricter about the criteria for issuing grants.

The city gave preference to community groups and organizations that were either just starting up, offering something different to the community or focused on providing benefits to specific groups, such as children or seniors. Less priority was given to enterprises that were well established or for-profit.

Every request was considered on its own merits, Staeben said.

“It wasn’t a slash-and-burn program to eliminate grants,” he said. “When you’re in the land of plenty, you can do more. This year, we had to start watching each amount a little more closely to see what fit the needs of the city, but also to bring in some more fiscal accountability.”

There were other factors leading to the lower number, noted Staeben. Some groups that had previously been given grants, such as the Stage West Theatre Festival, have ceased operations. That was $5,000 saved.

Other requests failed to be submitted before the application deadline in November.

Some groups that applied may find out they’ve been rejected, and some that have received grants in the past may find they won’t get as much this time around.

“Still, I think most groups will be happy,” said Staeben.

A look at the amount the City of Corner Brook has given out in community grants in recent years:

2017 – $250,000

2016 – $353,000

2015 – $377,000 

2014 – $301,500

2013 – $274,000

2012 – $219,000 

Source: City of Corner Brook

Still, the final number accounted for in the 2017 budget brought down earlier this week is $250,000, well below the $353,000 in the previous budget.

The numbers do fluctuate from year to year, but the 2017 amount is the lowest to be given since $219,000 in 2012. The donations include money given to the Corner Brook Stream Development Association, and last year’s figures did include money for work on the Bartlett’s Point development.

Staeben, who chairs the city’s finance committee, said the lower amount this year is a reflection of the city being a bit stricter about the criteria for issuing grants.

The city gave preference to community groups and organizations that were either just starting up, offering something different to the community or focused on providing benefits to specific groups, such as children or seniors. Less priority was given to enterprises that were well established or for-profit.

Every request was considered on its own merits, Staeben said.

“It wasn’t a slash-and-burn program to eliminate grants,” he said. “When you’re in the land of plenty, you can do more. This year, we had to start watching each amount a little more closely to see what fit the needs of the city, but also to bring in some more fiscal accountability.”

There were other factors leading to the lower number, noted Staeben. Some groups that had previously been given grants, such as the Stage West Theatre Festival, have ceased operations. That was $5,000 saved.

Other requests failed to be submitted before the application deadline in November.

Some groups that applied may find out they’ve been rejected, and some that have received grants in the past may find they won’t get as much this time around.

“Still, I think most groups will be happy,” said Staeben.

A look at the amount the City of Corner Brook has given out in community grants in recent years:

2017 – $250,000

2016 – $353,000

2015 – $377,000 

2014 – $301,500

2013 – $274,000

2012 – $219,000 

Source: City of Corner Brook

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