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Council approved community grant fall intake

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative

Following a spring without any applications in the Community Grant Program (CGP), Council approved to have one intake in the fall of 2020 with $19,180 of available funds.

This conversation was part of the Jan. to April financial statements and capital project plan update at the regular council meeting on July 13.

Each year the Community Grant supports local initiatives and is funded from the Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) Reserve. 

Two intakes usually take place each year in the spring and fall, but due to COVID-19, Administration was unable to conduct the spring intake for the grant.

No local groups made requests to move  forward  with  the  spring  intake, but administration believes this is likely due to uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, related closures, and restrictions.

The Community Grant contribution is based on the previous year’s net revenues. 

The available contribution in 2020 is $19,180 based on 2019 ATE revenue, which is a decrease from earlier years.

In the fall of 2019, $29,727 was available for the second yearly intake and CGP applications added up to a total request of $39,000.

Only $26,000 was awarded to three local non-profit organizations on Nov. 19.

In 2019, a total of $54,050 was available, down from $119,047 in 2018, and $243,181 in 2016.

Up to 30 per cent or a maximum of $120,000 can be allocated annually to the CGP from the ATE reserve as per Town policy #078.

Administration anticipated a larger amount during the 2020 budget process, but CAO Emily Olsen explained that due to an unanticipated amount of write-offs required for unpaid ATE fines this number was reduced.

Funds are becoming much more limited, said Carla Fox, director of corporate services.

Fox pointed out that money is being transferred into the reserve based on the amount of net revenue coming in without actually being able to collect that revenue.

Those funds will come out of current operations, she stated.

Olsen added that there is less ATE revenue overall due to the reduction in operational ATE locations within the community.

“There were a few that have been removed that were larger recipients of fine revenue than others,” Olsen said.

Olsen stated that a couple of ATE spots along the highway were removed but still approved, and they could be re-introduced.

“We also did have some other challenges with legislation in transition zones that the province put forward, we had to re-evaluate some of our current zones,” said Todd Martens, Hinton’s fire chief and protective services manager.

He added that the province is now taking 40 per cent of all provincial tickets, a 14 per cent increase as well. 

Once schools stopped it also ended all revenue from school zones, Martens said.

Only one person is shooting ATE currently with eleven active zones in the community.