Today’s Poll

Hat in hand, budget deliberations take a different twist

Nelson Daily Editor
By Nelson Daily Editor
January 26th, 2011

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

Arts, culture and economic groups gathered at the City council watering hole Monday night to try and convince politicians of their need to partake of City taxpayer funds.

Nelsonites’ tax dollars were in demand as City council fielded requests for their dispersal in the 2010 budget deliberations as over $600,000 was the total asked for by the city’s major sports, culture and economic organizations in seven presentations during the committee of the whole meeting in council chambers Monday.

Although the total amount may seem like a lot, money from the City goes even further and operates like seed money for these organizations to grow even greater operating funds, said Mayor John Dooley.

“When you look at the leverage possibilities around those numbers it is significant. It’s enabling people to get things done in the community,” he said.

“And it’s pence on the dollar for what we get out of it. If we were to set up those services ourselves there would be significant additional cost involved.”

Many organizations like the Capitol Theatre rely on the City for a contribution that amounts to around 17 per cent, or $55,000 per year, of their approximate $290,000 budget, a number that is growing smaller each year, said Capitol Theatre general manager Neil Harrower.

For 2011 Harrower was asking for an increase of $15,000 to make up for the loss of the Gaming Commission’s Direct Access Grant — a sum that was dissolved in 2010.

The Nelson Regional Sports Council asked for a $5,000 increase to the amount they received in 2009 — up to $60,000 — while the council is still in the midst of Civic Centre arena upgrades, said Sports Council administrator, Kim Palfenier.

By far the biggest chunk of change the City could hand out in 2011 to the groups presenting on Monday night is the $209,350 that Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History asked for, and received, in 2010.

With a continuation of the 2010 work expected in 2011, adding to the cultural calendar website and overseeing the cultural tourism strategy project, the Cultural Development Commission asked the City for $25,000 for the coming year.

The Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce’s request for the Visitor Information Centre — that they operate on behalf of the City — remained unchanged for 2011. Although Chamber executive director Tom Thomson said later the City could restore funding to the $88,000 they gave in 2006, he asked council to replenish the $76,000 the centre received in 2009.

The Nelson Economic Development Partnership — with the Chamber, the City and Community Futures — asked for $100,000 from the City, the same amount as in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

New this year will be the $50,000 contributed by the regional district areas E and F to the partnership.

The second presentation of the night was from the Nelson and District Arts Council, who asked the City for $2,000 — last year they asked for $6,000 — in order to keep events like ArtWalk going in the face of provincial cuts to arts grants.


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