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Oak Bay to craft new grant policy

This time next year, Oak Bay council will have more information at its disposal as it considers funding requests from non-profits and neighbourhood associations.

At council’s request, Oak Bay municipal treasurer Patricia Walker is planning to spend the summer drafting the district’s inaugural grants policy.

The goal is to have a formal policy in place in time for the 2013 grant application process, said Coun. John Herbert, who, as finance committee chair, will provide some input during the grant policy development process.

Currently, council considers applications and then has the option of rejecting or forwarding the funding request to the municipality’s estimates committee. The hope is that the new policy would require applicants to provide additional details to council.

In the past applicants have been required to provide previous years’ financial statements, a budget and a list of other funding sources, for example, Walker said.

“I think (a policy is) a good thing because you get into the process and it’s difficult because there are some organizations which you really understand their involvement with Oak Bay and some others that you’re not so sure of,” Herbert said. “It allows us to make a more common sense decision, I think.”

The district will look to the grant policies already in place in other municipalities.

“We’re probably not going to reinvent the wheel,” Herbert said.

In the meantime, the first step in improving Oak Bay’s process was developing a grants application form earlier this year.

There is space on the document to explain the work done by the organization, who leads it, details about past funding requests made to the district, what that money was used for, what the new grant would support and how Oak Bay would benefit, among other requests for budget information.

Some, though not all, applicants filled out the four-page form before the Feb. 28 grant application deadline, said Herbert. Other applicants filed their own paperwork.

“I think it produced a bit of improvement,” he said.

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