Grant requests receive different responses

ARICHAT: Council held-off on one grant request and denied another during a special meeting on August 1.

During a special meeting of Richmond Municipal Council in Arichat, the Dr. Kingston Memorial Health Centre made a regional/health/general grant request for $25,000 to cover a budget shortfall.

Richmond Chief Financial Officer Jason Martell made the motion to council on behalf of the centre, noting that although they recently raised rental charges to physicians, current revenues cover only 80 per cent of their total costs, and the L’Ardoise-based facility receives limited funding from the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Martell said the health centre currently has a $20,000 shortfall, but did have savings between $25,000 and $37,000 in the two previous years and currently has a positive cash flow around $2,700.

District 4 councillor Gilbert Boucher had a motion passed to differ the request until the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year to verify if financial assistance is still required at that time.

Richmond CAO Kent MacIntyre agreed that it’s “prudent” to wait.

Martell also made a motion to council for $1,523.14 in infrastructure funding for the Acadiaville Cemetery Society, the group which oversees the cemetery and columbarium in West Arichat.

Martell told council the group has been contracting-out the maintenance of the area behind the Stella Maris Parish Centre but can no longer afford to cut the grass and trim the weeds weekly. The society asked the municipality to contribute towards the purchase of a new lawn mower and whipper-snipper, and volunteers would be willing to carry out the maintenance on their own.

Currently, the group is trying to pay down a $30,000 loan for the columbarium and has limited means but Deputy Warden James Goyetche questioned whether this grant request can be categorized as infrastructure.

“I don’t consider cutting lawns as infrastructure,” Goyetche told council, adding that approving this funding could also “open up a big flood gate” considering the many other cemeteries in Richmond County.

Although he pointed out that the municipality currently provides funding to a group overseeing a cemetery in district 5, Martell acknowledged that the municipality has not properly defined what should be considered under infrastructure funding.

Council denied the motion.