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Orange Council is ripping through its community grant money at pace. Cr Steve Peterson has a plan

September 20, 2022


By David Fitzsimons

Funding to help Orange community groups and clubs would be cut to a maximum of $2,000 each under a plan to go to the city council tonight.

A proposal by councillor Steve Peterson to the meeting would see the maximum available for small donations and grants reduced from the existing $2,500 limit.

However, he is proposing the total amount available be increased to $80,000 from the current $60,000, effectively enabling more groups to get some cash.

The council has already spent nearly half the money allocated for small donations and grants in the first few months of this financial year.

Peterson said he had noted groups and clubs were seeking the maximum amount as a “common default”.

At the last council meeting nine Orange groups sought a total of more than $17,000, which would have reduced the funds remaining to just $31,000 with nine months to go.

However, councillors voted to knock back or defer some applications including refusing $1,500 for a recruitment drive by the Bletchington Softball Club.

Several councillors said they were concerned the amount available was rapidly disappearing.

Peterson said council should assist small community groups that did not have alternative sources of funding.

“In the two financial years I have been involved with council it is apparent that the available funding does not last the whole year, disadvantaging groups that would seek support later in the financial year,” he said.

“Increasing funding available and decreasing slightly the spend on individual projects will allow us to support more community activities with more donations.

“Council can always approve a higher amount on a case-by-case basis if deemed necessary.”

A staff comment on the plan said a review of the program was underway.

“At the end of the day the ‘first-in best-dressed syndrome’ is difficult to address in any year no matter the quantum of the grant program,” it said.

An amendment would need to be placed on public exhibition for 28 days before it could be adopted.

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