Trail asks for bigger piece of CBT pie

Trail councillor is concerned about Columbia Basin Trust's distribution of annual community initiative funds.

The City of Trail needs a bigger share of the Columbia Basin Trust’s (CBT) annual community initiative program since it serves Greater Trail and not just the city proper, says one city councillor.

On Tuesday night councillor Robert Cacchioni asked Columbia Basin Trust’s chief executive officer Neil Muth about the new funding formula the organization introduced last year.

He said the current division of CBT cash—with every community receiving at least $30,000, with larger community’s apportionment based on population—leaves Trail a little short when it comes time to handing out cash to community groups.

Cacchioni noted that, although the money comes to the city for the amount of citizens it comprises, as the hub of the Greater Trail region they end up handing out money to groups that service the entire area.

“Many of these grants we provide … cross over well beyond our borders,” he said during the regular council meeting.

“I’m concerned the CBT is not (funding) on a per capita basis. It is wrong. If you look at Warfield, one fifth of the population of Trail, they get $30,000. Therefore, Trail should get $150,000 by that understanding.”

He asked Muth to take a closer look at community initiatives program under which Trail received $112,000 last year.

“Have you adjusted community initiatives upward?” he asked.

“No. It was the third year of a five-year agreement and the funds are fixed for each of those years,” he replied. “That’s not to say the board could not make a decision to increase it at any time, with your agreement.”

“I think that should be increased,” Cacchioni stated. “If you were to be fair, from my estimation, and you would have done it on a per capita basis, then we would have had $167,000 instead of $112,000.”

He said Trail services a larger area and that many more people throughout the Greater Trail region. In fact, the 2012 requests for grant money in Trail were more than double the amount of available cash.

“A lot of the services for Greater Trail, are, in fact, located in Trail,” said Mayor Dieter Bogs. “The outside communities have been good, in some ways, in making contributions to the areas in Trail, but it would be nice if we had a little more power and flexibility to do that ourselves.”

Muth said he understood the issue in the broader context of Greater Trail and that it is different than other areas. But he could not see an across-the-board formula that would work here that CBT could apply in places like Salmo or Silverton as well.

“But we are certainly willing to work with you to figure that out,” he said.

Cacchioni said the city also gave out over $90,000 in grants this year, either grants in lieu, direct grants or permissive grants to groups and organizations supported by council.

“A lot of Trail taxpayer money could be held back for other purposes if the CBT grant was fair and reasonable,” he said.