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Board to toughen rules on grant applications

December 12th, 2013
[by David Armstrong]

The Motueka Community Board has signalled its intention to tighten its rules on giving out grants from its Discretionary Fund to community groups.

The Board has within its annual budget a sum of $6,000 for groups which apply for help with projects or events, plus $1,000 for what is called Youth Development.

Many groups have used this facility over recent years to help put on wonderful community events that would have been difficult without Board support.

Until now, applications for grants of up to $500 have been heard in an ad hoc way, generally monthly, even though the Board's guidelines say there should be quarterly funding rounds.

The meeting on Tuesday decided that from now on they would stick to the guidelines, dividing up the annual budget into four quarters of $1,500 each, with applications to be heard only in February, May, August and November, possibly at a separate meeting.

With applications required to be submitted at least three weeks before those meetings, community groups will need to plan well ahead to ensure they are considered in time, given that grants are not made for events that have already taken place.

Discussing the change, Board members acknowledged that it will be hard for some applicants whose events cannot be planned that far ahead.

However, several followed the line that the Board must get tougher on applicants in order to save money for the Council and ratepayers. In addition, they needed to point out to applicants that they may be given less than they apply for.

Other Board members said the current monthly applications were taking too much time out of the regular meeting time, and should be dealt with only quarterly.

The Discretionary Fund is the only pot of money that the Board can allocate autonomously to help community groups, without getting the endorsement of Tasman District Council. Spending of it's larger "special projects" fund often requires TDC approval, as most of those projects involve Council-owned infrastructure.


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