Distribution of grants 'nightmare'

DISTRIBUTING just $12,300 of community grants could cost a fortune in staff time as Council struggles to create a streamlined system.

Earlier in the year councillors voted to transfer the responsibility of divvying out donations and grants to the Community Services Department.

However, in doing so they were unaware of the “beast” that had been created, which became a “nightmare to administer”.

Councillors at this week’s round of committee meetings were surprised and disappointed their previous motion didn’t go as far as they would have liked.

Grants are split up into different areas such as rates relief, community grants and support in-kind.

Councillors said they thought all these areas would now be looked after by Community Services. However, Engineering Services and Corporate Services still deal with in-kind support and rates relief respectively.

The difficulty is cross department communication, as previously there has been a ceiling limit on grants of $2000 for each organisation. However keeping tabs on this across all the departments would be a bureaucratic challenge.

Only around $12,300 is left in the Community Services pot, which councillors say isn’t worth hassling over.

Grant applications were to be called for and distributed twice a year, with councillors receiving a six-monthly report.

For Cr Ross Bartley, who was from the start opposed to the changes, it was a case of “I told you so” as his fellow councillors grappled with a solution.

“We’ve created a monster,” he said.

The recommendation on the new system was left to sit on the table until the general meeting, with Director of Community Services, Tony Minuti promising to consider other solutions in the meantime.


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