Deputy Mayor Michael Cameron put forward a motion at the last council meeting to change the way grants are dealt with by the Municipality. The Deputy Mayor feels strongly that members of council should be made aware of all possible grant opportunities for which the Municipality might be eligible. “The purpose for this was to try and give another tool to council to meet the challenges of the Municipality,” he said at the meeting. “I decided to put forward a motion to make it official that, any time the provincial or federal government or any other source sends up a grant package, it be brought forward to every member of council so we can take it into consideration.”
Mayor Doug Struthers did not support the motion, stating that he felt it would cause confusion and distraction for staff. “I’m not sure what you’re saying is different from what staff already do,” he told Deputy Mayor Cameron. “When there are grants that are appropriate, they utilize it and bring it forward to council for consideration.”
Mayor Struthers suggested that it might be beneficial for staff to put together a report explaining how they address possible grant opportunities. Deputy Mayor Cameron felt this wasn’t enough. “I don’t think it’s staff that should be deciding what grants the Municipality is using, or not using,” he said. “Council should have the ability to direct the municipality in its future. Not staff.”
Councillor Timothy Molloy felt that informing council of all grants available to the Municipality might not be an appropriate use of staff time. “The issue is, not all grants are applicable to us,” he said. “A grant that the City of Toronto might apply for would not even be in our realm of possibility or even our needs.”
Deputy Mayor Cameron was adamant that he felt the municipality was already losing out on possible grant money. He said he knew of a $5 million infrastructure grant, through the Province of Ontario, that had not been utilized. “Were you made aware of that?” he asked council.
The CAO, Doug Robertson, said at the meeting that he had received a request from Deputy Mayor Cameron asking for a list of grants available to the Municipality. According to Doug, there is no such list. “Council’s procedural bylaw states very, very clearly that each and every member of council is not supposed to be involved in the administration of a municipality,” he said. “What the councillor is asking is to dive into that, and making the administration of the municipality a political matter.”
Instead of requesting a staff report, Deputy Mayor Cameron asked that the motion be put to a recorded vote. Everyone except for the Deputy Mayor voted against the motion, therefore it did not pass.