28 November 2014
The Rotorua District Council is considering a plan to hand over responsibility for dishing out more than $300,000 worth of grants to community and service groups to the Geyser Community Foundation.
The plan is contained in the agenda of the council’s strategy, policy and finance committee due to meet on Wednesday, 3 December.
Under the plan, the Geyser Foundation would become linked to the council through the council’s “partnership” system. Such partnerships give preference to those involved to the exclusion of other entities.
The foundation has been operating in Rotorua since 2007 and includes a range of business leaders who also have community interests. Based on the figures in the report, the council’s various community assistance grants total $324,074 for the 2012-2015 period.
The report prepared for the council by Rosemary Viskovic, RDC senior policy advisor, outlines the various existing mechanisms for grants, including grants for service, community grants, and neighbourhood matching funds.
Under “Assessment of Significance”, it notes “The decisions or matters of this report are not considered significant in accordance with the Council’s Policy on Significance.” It also notes there is no intention to alter the funding pool, rather to organise it more efficiently.
For foundation, for example, would administer Neighbourhood Matching Funding for a 10 per cent fee, so the move would have no financial impact as a budget item.
The community grants fund has a budgeted allocation of $28,000, which would transferred to the “Geyser Community Trust”. The administration would attract a 10 per cent fee for the foundation.
“This equates to less than the current cost of staff time spent administering community grants and grants for service.”
The report recognises the potential community perception that the council is reducing the availability, value or access to grants for community organisations.
“There is also potential that organisations which have received funding consistently over a number of years may be concerned about how changes may affect their success in future.”
Based on the total figure of $324,074, the Geyser Foundation could potentially receive more than $32,000 by way of commission and admin fees as a result of the planned “partnership” with the council.