‘We have to spread money’

Mu­nic­i­pal­ity re­veals new sus­tain­abil­ity fund ap­pli­ca­tion

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON/PROVINCE - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF news@cb­post.com

The Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has changed the ap­pli­ca­tion com­mu­nity groups must fill out when look­ing for spe­cial events fund­ing.

CBRM recre­ation man­ager Jen­nifer Collins and her staff held an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion Wed­nes­day night to out­line the new process, which she said should make it eas­ier for groups to ap­ply — and staff to as­sess.

“All that changed is the ap­pli­ca­tion form. We just made it a lit­tle more spe­cific on yes-no ques­tions that make it eas­ier to eval­u­ate,” she said. “And it’s more spe­cific to fes­ti­vals and events.”

The CBRM has had to al­ter the way it dis­trib­utes money to com­mu­nity groups since En­ter­prise Cape Bre­ton Corp. was de­com­mis­sioned. The loss of the Crown fund­ing en­tity left many groups scram­bling for a share of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s lim­ited re­sources.

Collins said the CBRM re­ceived $3.2 mil­lion in re­quests last year but only had $1.2 mil­lion to give out from its sus­tain­abil­ity fund, which gen­er­ally gets topped up each bud­get.

CBRM bud­get de­lib­er­a­tions are cur­rently un­der­way, but Collins said the recre­ation depart­ment has re­quested $356,000 for the fund this year.

With more than 40 com­mu­nity groups typ­i­cally ask­ing for money and in-kind ser­vices, she said the ap­pli­ca­tions re­flect how im­por­tant it is for groups to care­fully bud­get for events and turn to all pos­si­ble fund­ing sources, in­clud­ing se­nior lev­els of gov­ern­ment and busi­nesses.

The ap­pli­ca­tions — which are for re­quests un­der $1,000; $1,000-$50,000; and more than $50,000 — are eval­u­ated by a sus­tain­abil­ity com­mit­tee made up of the CBRM chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, fi­nance man­ager, com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer and recre­ation man­ager. Re­quests of more than $50,000 need coun­cil ap­proval.

Groups will also have to file a post-event re­port within 60 days, de­tail­ing the level of com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion and fi­nan­cial re­sults of the event.

“We have to spread the money and we’re try­ing the most ef­fi­cient way to eval­u­ate ev­ery­body,” said Collins, who called spe­cial events and fes­ti­vals “the unity in com­mu­nity.”

“We have some very proud com­mu­ni­ties that have their very spe­cial events, and they’re proud of what they do. It brings com­mu­ni­ties to­gether.”

Collins

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