NADB funding request receives lukewarm response from council

The Nakusp and Area Development Board should go elsewhere to find new sources of funding to accomplish its goals, Nakusp council ruled in a vote on a funding request from the group.

The NADB had asked council in December to triple the amount of money it gives to the economic agency – from $25,000 annually to $75,000. They proposed that the money come from the NACFOR Legacy Fund, as well as COVID emergency funding and other council coffers. It would be used to launch a major project “to benefit the community,” the NADB said, as well as providing a pot of funds to attract matching grants.

But council, already facing tight budget decisions, was wary of earmarking so many community funds for one organization. Mayor Tom Zeleznik noted the forestry industry may be entering a recession, which could reduce Legacy Fund contributions, and thus the grants provided to community groups from the fund.

“We will be unable to help other organizations that ask for similar funding – museum, library, etc. It all comes back to council’s role and responsibility to taxpayers…” he said. “We may be experiencing another wave of pandemic, or recession, or related causes that downturns or derails job creation. Once you give to other groups, there’s no getting it back. We have to remember what reserves are for.”

Zeleznik said some Legacy Fund money might be better spent hiring a Village grant writer to support local non-profit organizations to attract more money from other sources.

Another councillor, Tina Knoohuizen, said she was concerned by the vagueness of the request.

“It would be unusual for the Village to approve funding for a project when you don’t know what the project is first,” she said, echoing a staff report. “…I think it has to be a more structured request with a plan. Maybe that’s a conversation to be had with the NADB.”

Councillor asked staff to reach out to the development board to discuss the matter further and explore other funding sources.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice