Alix village council is extending the period that the local community has to apply for funding meant to help groups suffering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made at the Feb. 3 regular meeting of council, offered by Zoom to the public.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White reported to councillors the results of their effort to offer Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) money from the provincial government to the Alix community.
“Through the MOST funding, Alix was given $79,324 in late 2020 with a deadline of Mar. 31, 2021 to have it spent according to the eligibility requirements,” stated White in her report to council.
“Council made the decision to allow non-profit community groups to apply for MOST funding through the village based on revenue loss and/or expenses related to COVID.”
The provincial government offered MOST funding in 2020 as a form of relief to community organizations facing financial hardship or expenses related to the pandemic.
Most communities appear to be approaching the funds in the same manner as Alix including covering the municipality’s expenses, then offering unspent monies to community groups.
Rules from the provincial government state that MOST funds can be used for things like personal protective equipment, communications, additional cleaning, supplemental staffing and additional supports for vulnerable populations.
White noted in her report, after the village’s expenses are removed from the MOST grant, there would be $60,000 remaining, with $37,000 earmarked for the Alix Arena Association and $2,500 for the Alix Mac School breakfast program.
The CAO presented councillors with a list of other Alix groups which applied for MOST funds, and the amount they’re eligible for: including the Lions Club $10,000, United Church Women (UCW) $4,674, Alix Museum $3,363 and the public library $1,952.
White stated she wasn’t aware of any more requests for funding, although she pointed out there may be more available within the village’s share.
Mayor Rob Fehr stated he’d been advised the Alix Fire Department will be applying for funding for the medical side of the operation, as the fire chief told him donations have dried up due to the pandemic. The department is looking at other fundraising opportunities and partnerships as well.
Fehr stated the Alix arena may be submitting a second application as they’ve run into some mechanical problems in the arena.
Coun. Ed Cole stated all the groups that applied are worthy candidates for grants, and further noted the UCW helps the Alix community in general, not just one church.
White responded that the UCW is a non-profit group so they’re eligible for MOST funds, the fire department is definitely eligible for medical costs incurred but the MOST grant probably can’t cover mechanical repairs to the arena as that’s not related to COVID-19.
Coun. Barb Gilliat wondered why the Lions Club was applying for $10,000. White responded that the club lost out on revenue from volunteering at a casino.
Coun. Vicki Soltermann noted the next Lions Club casino wasn’t scheduled until the end of 2021.
Mayor Fehr noted councillors had until the end of March to make a decision with these funds and suggested deferring the decision until March to give other groups a chance to apply.
Councillors unanimously passed a resolution doing so.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter