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Surrey council initiative grants to be better scrutinized

Coun. Gordon Hepner’s motion approved Nov. 20
Surrey Councillor Gordon Hepner

A Surrey city councillor’s motion for council initiative grants to better scrutinized, particularly those over $5,000, has been approved.

Coun. Gordon Hepner presented a notice of motion to that end on Oct. 30 and council voted on it on Nov. 20.

“The city should act somewhat prudently with taxpayer dollars and this council should pay attention to the accountability of these dollars,” Hepner told council, “and where these council initiative grants are critical in the time of recession I’d like to resolve that we work on the information for the council initiative grant for staff to evaluate the various recipients over $5,000 and that should be subject to review.”

Hepner also called for prospective recipients to be categorized into “separate functions.”

“For instance, public safety, youth sport, and the like.”

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Coun. Pardeep Kooner asked city staff if this would also provide council with background after the money has been granted, to see what benefit the city received from doing so, “or would this be more before we give the money and not have an after, is that part of the process that we’d be developing?”

Kam Grewal, Surrey’s general manager of finance, replied that council initiatives fund is typically for celebrations, a table, a seat for council, galas, “that sort of thing.”

“The over-arching grants program does have criteria, it does have follow-up,” he said. “We do ask information for those that do receive grants but that is not related to the council initiatives fund.”

Hepner’s motion passed with Councillors Doug Elford and Mandeep Nagra opposed.

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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