Non-profits appeal for support at NB budget deliberations

By Angela Brown
November 29, 2018 - 9:00am

A number of area non-profits appealed for grant support during North Battleford city council's first 2019 budget deliberation meeting Wednesday.

Mayor Ryan Bater said during the meeting the city will be facing a number of financial pressures in the year ahead, so council will need to make its decisions carefully.

City Finance Director Steve Brown said at the introduction that 2019 will be a "bit of a challenging year from an economic and financial standpoint." He related the city’s proposed budget reflects a four per cent property tax increase and 4.5 per cent utilities rate increase for 2019.  

Some of the organizations making presentations included The Lighthouse North Battleford which asked for a grant of $25,000 to help with essential needs to service individuals dealing with homelessness.

General manager Kerry Reimer said the organization lost some significant funding this year that will impact costs, so he is hoping the city can help make up for some of the loss.  He added the organization is also "working pretty hard to acquire other major funding as well." Reimer said the 34-bed facility fills a need in the community since opening in Jan. 2015. He added in the last year it has served over 28,500 meals to the community, and provided over 6,000 overnight stays to "men and women who had nowhere else to go."      

For its request, The Dekker Centre asked for a $235,000 operating grant for 2019, the same amount the city gave the organization last year to help with costs to maintain the facility. General manager Kali Weber asked for the ticket sale revenue, which the Dekker Centre gives back to the city, be capped at $15,000. She said for the organization to be able to keep the additional roughly $8,000 estimated over the cap from 2018, to be used for the year ahead would help it "get back on track." Weber said the organization will also be implementing a new marketing plan to increase tickets sales as part of its strategy. Plans are to undertake market research to better understand and reach the community, as well as make programming options more diverse to attract more customers. These are all part of the overall efforts to bring the organization into "good financial standing,” said Weber.   

In making its appeal for 2019, The Battlefords Boys and Girls Club requested a $5,000 increase to its operating grant, to bring the amount up to $30,000 for the year ahead.

Executive director Nicole Combres said the number of child and youth visits has increased significantly over the past three years in particular. In addition to after-school programs there are also evening and weekend services available through the club. Combres said the organization also now offers before-school services to meet the needs.   

Some of the other organizations to make presentations included the Battlefords Humane Society, the Battlefords Transit System, and North Battleford Golf and Country Club.

Following the budget deliberation meeting Mayor Bater said council will need to further discuss all the requests before making its decisions.

"There is a lot of need out there," he said. "Council has to make some really hard decisions on what to fund and what not to fund." 

The next budget deliberation meeting will take place Dec. 3 starting at 5 p.m. All meetings are open to the public.


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