By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Cobourg council voted on Monday to – as Mayor Lucas Cleveland put it – lay out a little money on the chance of getting a whole lot more back.
The outlay is a maximum of $10,000 for a grant writer with appropriate expertise to give the town its best chance to take advantage of the Federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund when it opens for applications.
The motion on the table singled out Tannery District lands (“and/or Durham and Furnace Streets”) for development, and noted that the grant is in support of affordable housing and housing-related infrastructure, including revitalization of brownfields for housing purposes.
The motion on the floor called for staff to apply for funding when appropriate, and Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty added the amendment about investing up to $10,000 from the Affordable Housing CIP fund to allow staff to work with an external subject-matter expert/agent to support the application preparation.
Councillor Miriam Mutton objected, saying she understood there is already a grant writer on staff.
That would be a staffer whose duties are grant writing and policies – pretty well a 50-50 split between the two – Chief Administrative Officer Tracey Vaughan said.
Vaughan added that the application process for this particular grant is intricate and requires a certain area of expertise that is not within this staffer’s professional knowledge.
Also, she said, “we have heard the window (to apply) may be open for as little as two weeks.” With current staffing capacity, she said, they couldn’t give proper attention to what she called a complex, multi-layered application process.
“This is probably one of the most sought-after grants that will be coming out of the Federal government,” Mayor Lucas Cleveland added.
At any rate, Beatty said, it is common practice to engage subject-matter specialists to help apply for grants in certain circumstances – in this municipality and in others.