Red Deer may explore capital fund

A Red Deer city councillor wants to explore setting up a community capital fund to respond to financial requests from local organizations.

A Red Deer city councillor wants to explore setting up a community capital fund to respond to financial requests from local organizations.

Tara Veer will introduce the motion at the next council meeting on Feb. 4.

She said that over the last three years, city council has received numerous requests from community organizations like Red Deer College and the Westerner for capital grants or loans for community projects.

Sometimes council has responded with “yes,” “no” or simply “not yet.”

But Veer said council does not have a clear policy for granting or denying community grants or loans.

Veer said her hope is that a fair, equitable and transparent process be established so both the community groups know what to expect when they go to council for small and large requests.

Veer said this would provide accountability to the public and provide greater transparency of the municipality.

“It also helps towards the broader financial substantiality picture of the city,” said Veer.

“There’s a limit to how much debt the city can take on. Yet we don’t have any dedicated community capital reserve. When these grants or loans requests have come forward, there’s not really a dedicated area in the budget for community capital.”

Determining where the money will come from will be part of the discussions. Veer said council needs to strive for a balance.

“My motion isn’t prescriptive exactly on what we need to do because I think there’s a couple different strategies that we could look at,” said Veer.

“But I think it’s imperative that we have the discussion sooner rather than later. Regardless of the strategies we employ, we have to find the right balance between the amount that is allocated to reserves without placing onerous financial expectation on the community.”

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