Mission historical society refused grant in aid

The local society is facing a difficult future as it tries to overcome a funding shortfall

The District of Mission has declined a request by the cash-strapped Mission District Historical Society to provide $15,000 for municipal grants in aid.

The Municipal Grants Select Committee met April 20 to recommend awarding $58,400 in grants of the $153,767 total requested from various groups.

The committee recommended against funding the society and noted, “the committee recognized that the activities under the application were covered under the Fee for Service Contract” in its report to council.

But Ann Senae, treasurer of the society, says user fees can’t cover the revenue shortfall left by last year’s provincial cuts in gaming grants.

“We really count on that gaming funding to make payroll. As it is now, the museum and archives are only open two and a half days a week, and if we don’t get the additional funding it means we’re going to have to cut down opening times,” she said.

Society director Joan MacLatchy approached the previous council for money in early November 2011, saying the society is digging into reserves to make up for the $11,000 funding cut, but was denied.

Senae said the only expense left to cut is wages.

Prior to the financial request, the society compared Mission and Vernon, a community of similar size and tax base. When they found it receives $200,000 in annual funding, and is open five days a week, they felt asking for $15,000 was reasonable.

“The people who run the departments pinch pennies like crazy so we’ve managed to have a bit of a surplus so that we can keep going for a couple of years. But if we have another year with the gaming cuts I’m not sure what we’ll do,” Senae said.

The society’s 2012 expenditures are $123,000. It receives $75,000 from the district, $14,000 from the province, and other revenue is generated through user fees and fundraisers.