Few changes as Mission municipal grants handed out

The district awarded $58,400 in grants compared to $153,767 in requests

Council has approved $82,500 in municipal grants in aid to community events and organizations, down by $750 from last year.

The Mission City Farmers’ Market will receive $400 less, while the Fraser Valley Marine Society and the Mission Alano Club will have to make do with $500 less. Taking the brunt of the decline was the Mission Artists Association, seeing a $700 drop compared to last year, and the Opening Nite Theatre Society will contend with $2,000 less.

Although money will be tighter for the non-profit theatre group, which will receive $4,000, actor and director Camille Knight wasn’t overly concerned.

“We’re always trying to reduce our reliance on public money. But we want to do that while still keeping the same level of quality of our programming,” she said, adding every penny currently goes toward the various plays put on throughout the year.

Knight said their recent run, The Odd Couple (Female Version), was their best show ever, enjoying sold out performances nearly every weekend.

The Mission Artists Association, composed of roughly 15 local artists who put on workshops and shows throughout the year, received just $300 of the $1,500 for which they applied.

“I think we can handle it. Possibly next year we’ll get more,” said association president Teri Phaneuf.

The two annual workshops cost around $500 each, which will necessitate an entry fee increase, she said.

Coun. Nelson Tilbury, who sat on the municipal grants select committee meeting April 20, said although he couldn’t discuss the specifics of the in-camera meeting he hoped people understand the district’s financial constraints.

“We just don’t have the money. The wages and everything within the city are just eating everything up,” he said, adding they had to try and award $58,400 in grants from $153,767 in requests.

But Tilbury said he was pleased council fought to keep the same funding from last year and did not have to make any big cuts.

“[The committee] tried to identify where people were what they might call double-dipping,” he said, referring to organizations who get a fee for service as well as apply for grants.

Two organizations saw increases from 2011, with the Optimist Club of Mission receiving $3,000, up $1,000 from last year, and the Senior Animals in Need Today Society (SAINTS) which received $1,500, up $500.

“It’s gratifying to know that the municipality and the people of Mission really appreciate what we’re doing,” said SAINTS volunteer Maggie Calloway, adding its the only Canadian shelter specializing in care for senior or disabled animals that would ordinarily be destroyed if they could not be adopted.

Tilbury said the core services review, due to be completed in June, will help council to see if more money can be freed up.