City puts grant application process into hands of fiscal review committee

One politician fears decisions will be left to unelected committee

Community organizations seeking grants from the City of Penticton should be prepared for an earlier application deadline and a new screening process if city council approves a new screening process introduced this week.

During the budget process each year, many hours of city council and staff time are taken up dealing with the large number of grant requests, but this year, the city is thinking of shifting the burden to the fiscal review advisory committee.

Last year, the city received 52 grant requests, for nearly $1 million, of which they approved a total of $669,000.

“It’s an issue that council has been asking for advice on for a number of years. It’s always been a thorny issue,” said Mayor Garry Litke. “The fiscal review advisory committee is in place to advise council on financial matters, so it seemed like the logical place for it to go,”

According to a report presented to council this week, the committee is willing to take the job on, but after it became clear councillors were divided on the plan, it was referred to their next committee of the whole meeting for a more thorough discussion.

The revised policy would see each grant application looked over by the fiscal review advisory committee, which would pass their recommendations on to council about which grants should be approved. The deadline for applications would be shifted to Sept. 15, a month earlier than previous years.

“It is a very long process to deal with all these applications. Giving us an extra month allows the city to do that additional due diligence,” said Colin Fisher, the city’s chief financial officer.

Fisher explained that ambiguities in the current application process often result in unclear applications.

“It came down to having to evaluate apples and oranges. They were completed in such different ways that evaluation and comparison was very difficult,” said Fisher.

“As a result, the process was slowed down significantly, especially if we had to go back and request the applicant resubmit.”

Coun. John Vassilaki spoke strongly in opposition to the plan, saying that such decisions should be kept at the council table.

“I will never vote in favour of something like this,” said Vassilaki, noting that the city’s budget is the most important document council has to deal with.

“I would hate to see a non-elected person making a decision or have influence on council as to where taxpayer money should go. People give us the responsibility to make these decisions.”

Vassilaki also noted that many of the grant requests deal with social issues, which he said are the responsibility of council, adding that he was concerned about the possibility of bias by involving a non-elected committee.

“It could be a recommendation to deny or approve or their could be no recommendation. That is also an option of the committee is not comfortable about taking an option,” said Litke.

All applications under the new policy, he explained, would be passed on to council, though there could be other options for how the committee would come to its initial recommendations.

“The intent of council over the past number of years has been to try to get a handle on the amount of money that is being spent,” said Litke. “One option might be that council would approve an envelope of a certain amount of money and give that to the committee to deal with.”

Members of the fiscal review advisory committee include chair Alan Profili, Chris Browne, Tim Gahagan, Paulette Rennie, and Jim Dunlop, chosen for their business or financial backgrounds. Litke and Coun. Helena Konanz are council’s liaisons to the committee, but do not have a vote.

 

Just Posted

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

Jann Arden will embark on Canada-wide tour Spring 2022 with a stop in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre on June 13. (Contributed)
Jann Arden coming to Penticton in 2022

The Jann Arden Live! tour has been rescheduled for 2022

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

The South Okanagan Tim Hortons raised over $4,000 through the three day orange doughnut promotion with 100 per cent of proceeds going to to the Residential School Survivors Society. The owner of these locations matched the amount. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
South Okanagan Tim Hortons raises over $8K for residential school survivors

More than $4,000 worth of doughnuts were purchased over three days

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read