Province sends grant cash to municipal coffers

B.C. grants make their way to the District of Oak Bay

Oak Bay’s budget remains balanced after the province announced its Small Community Grant, Regional District Grant and Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Grant recipients.

This year communities receive almost $53 million in the unconditional grants meant to help address infrastructure, administration and service delivery priorities. Oak Bay received $175,953 in small community and regional district grant and $227,824 in traffic fine revenues.

“This is not new money. This is just a new bow on an old package. But we’re extremely grateful for the package,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “These are ongoing grants we have come to expect over the years, they are unconditional so we can use them for whatever we want. We’re grateful that we receive them and they’re part of our budget.”

These grants differ from gas tax revenue received as part of a provincial and federal agreement that Oak Bay puts aside instead of incorporating into the operating budget.

“We’ve been putting that aside and earmarking it for the special project in the Uplands,” Jensen said.

“There’s a general danger of communities becoming dependent on grants as part of their operating budget. If that tap of money is turned off it really causes a jump in taxes.”

Communities share about $55 million in traffic fine revenue that comes from ticket fines and court-imposed fines on violation tickets.

“I have said time and again that I would rather see net traffic fine revenues that are substantially smaller amounts, because it would mean nobody was behaving dangerously behind the wheel,” said Public Safety and Solicitor General Minister Mike Morris.

“We know there are still people who text and check their emails while driving, people who speed, and people who drink and drive. As long as people continue to accumulate traffic fines, we can continue to share these revenues to support community safety initiatives and local policing priorities to help make B.C. communities safer.”

Did you know?

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mall Community Grants aid communities with populations of less than approximately 20,000. Communities with populations of 5,000 or greater pay for policing services and therefore qualify to receive a Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Grant. Communities with populations between 5,000 and 20,000 qualify for both the Small Community Grant and the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Grant.