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Rossland city staff puts Growing Community funds to work

Council passes Growing Community Reserve Fund bylaw; await Master Plans under construction
Rossland City Council

Rossland city staff and council are making sure its funds grow while considering how to apply them.

Rossland council adopted the Growing Communities Fund Reserve bylaw on Monday, April 17, which will see the city bank more than $2.15 million for upcoming capital projects.

At the April 3 council meeting, Chief Financial Officer Mike Kennedy explained that the funds would be held in a savings account and accumulate interest until the capital projects are decided on and deliverable.

“It’s targeted but it’s general,” Mayor Andy Morel told the Rossland News. “We are pretty pleased with the contribution of course.

“It’s not free money, it’s all our tax dollars and the success of the province in the last couple years to have substantial surpluses.”

The provincial government’s Growing Communities Fund provided a one-time total of $1 billion in grants distributed among all of B.C.’s local governments last month.

Municipalities and regional districts across the province received the funds, calculated to incorporate a flat amount of $500,000 per municipality or district. The additional amounts were calculated based on each municipality’s population size and per-capita population growth between 2016 and 2021, according to BC Stats data.

For Rossland, the funds will be put in a reserve in the short term, hence the bylaw, but will go towards capital projects once the respective Master Plans have been completed.

“We are going through a Master Plan for Recreation, a Utilities Master Plan to try to establish our priorities there, so there is a lot going on to come to a point where council and staff is in a position to highlight where their true priorities for the community are and where best to invest those funds,” added Morel.

To ensure transparency regarding the use of funds, local governments are required to annually report on how the grant funds are spent.

Among Greater Trail communities, Fruitvale received more than $1.27 million from the Growing Communities Fund, Montrose $903,000, Trail almost $3 million, Warfield $1.19 million, and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary $1.77 million.

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Jim Bailey

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