Perth Council defers vote on allocating grant money to local groups
A vote to allocate grant money to local groups in Perth has been deferred to upcoming budget meetings as councillors seek more time and information for decision-making.
Councillors expressed concern with various elements of staff recommendations for grant allocations at a recent Committee of the Whole meeting. The issues centered on the fact that some staff recommendations were below the requested amounts.
Director of Community Services Shannon Baillon spoke broadly to say that certain funds in 2020 were allocated but unspent due to the impact of COVID-19. Recommendations for next year were thus lowered not as a denial of funding but as a reflection that the pandemic effects are expected to last through much of 2021. Baillon reasoned certain funds could therefore be applied elsewhere rather than commit budgets and taxpayer money to areas where the money will go unused.
The conflict between rushing the budget to completion and the urgency to complete the budget so local groups could plan their own budgets was discussed at length.
Ultimately, council voted to direct the issue of grant allocations to upcoming budget deliberations where a clearer scope of the final product could be determined.