Municipalities cash in on community grants from province

Strategic Community Investment Fund money goes straight into municipal coffers.

The province handed out a sack of cash to Kootenay communities in its latest Strategic Community Investment Fund (SCIF), an unconditional grant payment the province makes from its general revenues to municipalities across the province.

With a total of over $450,000 coming to the Greater Trail area—and $1.23 million to the West Kootenay Boundary—the SCIF grant includes the traffic fine revenue sharing program and small community and regional district grants.

Each community uses the cash injection to help flesh out its budget, but how that cash is used varies with each municipality.

Trail received the largest overall instalment of cash at $106,698 in the West Kootenay-Boundary, including $22,269 from traffic fine revenue.

Trail was the only community in the Greater Trail region to receive traffic fine revenue.

The traffic fine revenue sharing program funding helps offset the cost of policing and community safety, with Trail using its allotment for the city to employ two extra Crime Reduction Unit RCMP officers to provide a “higher level of service.”

Only communities that pay for policing—Trail, Nelson and Castlegar—received the traffic fine revenue.

The grants come from ticket fines and court-imposed fines on violation tickets, and the amount of money a municipality receives is based on its contribution to total municipal policing costs.

Rossland had $84,075 come its way, while Warfield garnered $79,362.

Fruitvale was given $80,678, while the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary received $35,823.

Montrose was allotted $70,168 in small community grants, dropping the cash into general revenue to offset staff wages, council expenses, benefits programs, legal costs, running the village office, public relations, elections and general public works.

Most local B.C. governments with populations under 20,000 received a portion of the total $10 million in small community and regional district grants to help pay for local infrastructure and service delivery priorities.

SCIF was originally set up when the economy “took a nose dive,” said Bill Bennett, minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, in a press release.

“We wanted to provide funding quickly when the economy was so unstable,” he said. “Now we are still providing a consistent level of funding communities can rely on to keep services and projects ticking along according to their priorities.”

Eligible municipalities (with police services) shared in the $10 million in Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing program funding to help offset the cost of policing and community safety.

Since 2009, the SCIF has provided $562 million to invest money in projects that are identified at the local level as a priority.