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City Council retracts proposed changes to grants program

City of BrantfordCity Council retracts proposed changes to grants program

City of Brantford Council voted to retract proposed changes to the City Grants Program during its regular council meeting on Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

Currently, many City grants are delivered to various organizations through the Brant Community Foundation, however the following eight receive grants directly from the City budget process and are funded by the Community Groups Reserve:

·  Nova Vita

·  Brantford Food Bank

·  Victim’s Services

·  Seniors Resource Centre

·  Brant food for Thought

·  St. Andrew’s Church

·  Grace Anglican Church

·  Salvation Army

Earlier this month, City officials proposed a change to the program which would allow the Brant Community Foundation to be the sole administrator of the grants, effectively removing politics from the equation.

While the proposed process would still allow the organization to apply for City grants, in many cases, it would notably decrease the amount of funding they’re currently eligible for.

Several councillors raised concerns during the June 11 meeting and Councillor Richard Carpenter later proposed that they defer the decision to August so they could consult with the organizations who would most be affected by the change.

While Council was expected to give final approval for the consultation to take place, during the council meeting on Tuesday, June 25, Councillor Gino Caputo was the first to suggest that they should turn down the deferral and scrap the changes all together.

“In our last session, we actually had this deferred to come back in August, but I don’t know if that’s what I believe should be done here,” he said. “I think, as much as it’s great that City Staff have put in some time into this, I think my intent is to stay the way we have been. …We’ve done a great job with these groups already, so I think we should just keep it the status quo and I hope that we actually vote this [deferral] down tonight.”

Looking at it from a different perspective, Mayor Kevin Davis said that he still thought it would be useful to get further information from the organizations.

“I’m going to vote in favour of the resolution to defer because I thought it may be very useful to obtain further information from these groups about what their situation is. Do they still need this money? Maybe they need more money? Let’s provide them with an option to give input in respect to the decision,” he said. “Wasn’t that the essence of deferring? You didn’t want to make the decision without input from them so why would you now not want input from them?”

Councillor Dan McCreary said that while yes, that was the original intent, after several councillors received a variety of calls from the different organizations it was clear that there were concerns.

While Councillors John Sless, Rose Sicoli, Linda Hunt and Carpenter had all initially supported the deferral, all five of them said they too would be voting against it.

Councillor Mandy Samwell said that while she is always in favour of consultation, she would not be supporting the deferral.  

“Generally, I too would like to have consultation every time about everything because that’s important, but for this, I’m going to vote against deferring it,” she said. “I think that we’ve heard enough already to know that these organizations need our support and the value that they bring to our community, so I’ll definitely be voting against the deferral tonight.”

On a vote of 9-2, councillors voted against the deferral and effectively withdrawing the proposed changes to the City Grants Program, noting that Councillor Greg Martin and Mayor Davis voted yes to the deferral.

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