Mayor John Booth cast the deciding vote in favour of additional funding to community organisations. PHOTO/FILE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

Carterton’s community organisations could be eligible for a further $25,000 in grants funding if the annual plan is adopted, despite mixed views from within council about increasing the allocated amount.

After weeks of community feedback sessions, the Carterton District Council voted on changes to be made to the Draft Annual Plan 2019/20 at a meeting on Wednesday.

The council received 68 submissions and heard from 16 submitters at a feedback clinic in May, and a further 36 responses were received from an online survey.

The Grants Committee originally recommended the grants budget be increased by up to $50,000 before a $25,000 increase was proposed.

The majority of people surveyed supported the additional community grants funding, with around 60 per cent voting in favour.

However, among the council, views were split.

Councillor Mike Ashby said community grants funding was an “extra”, that was “nice to have” but not a necessity.

Cr Ruth Carter agreed and said that when times were hard it was important to have equity.

Of all funding increases being discussed, this was “the one” she felt council should be looking at and asking if it was really needed.

“What we must remember is the grants funding is still going to be here.

“It’s the ‘on top’ that worries me.”

Others took a more nuanced approach like Cr Brian Deller who supported helping community organisations but moving away from models of financial aid.

“I think the way of helping them … [could be] putting them on to other community funding avenues.”

Cr Greg Lang agreed saying councillors needed to be conscious of what those groups did for the town.

“I think we need to support the community grants, but I take Deller’s point that mentoring can be a good way to help.

“We don’t have a lot of ‘nice to haves’ in Carterton and rely on community partnerships.”

Deputy mayor Russell Keys went to bat for community organisations.

“I support this having been on the grants committee. I know there are other places people can go but I’d like to see it stay.”

It came down to a split vote which passed when Mayor John Booth cast the deciding vote in favour.

The revised Draft Annual Plan will be put to council for a vote at its next meeting on June 26.