The Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition got the funding increase it was seeking from city council Tuesday afternoon, but it came at a cost.
Council agreed during final budget deliberations to give the GNSC, a non-profit group that coordinates, supports and advocates for the city’s 13 neighbourhood groups, an additional $100,000 for each of the remaining two years of its agreement with the city.
That ’s funding will now increase to $537,000.
But the money won't be added to the city's tax supported operating budget, instead it will come out of the city’s existing affordable housing reserve.
“The money has got to come from somewhere,” said Coun. Dan Gibson, who supported the GNSC but was concerned with the process they went through to arrive at a funding increase request.
Coun. Cathy Downer initially moved the motion to give the GNSC an extra $100,000.
An amendment to that motion by Coun. Mark MacKinnon to pull the $100,000 from the Guelph Police Services budget was defeated.
But an amendment by Coun. Karl Wettstein to take the $100,000 from the affordable housing reserve passed by a 7-6 vote.
Councillors James Gordon, Phil Allt and an emotional June Hofland were vehemently in support of the increased funding but against taking it from affordable housing.
“This council is missing an important message,” said Gordon.
Later, when discussing increased funding for council training, a still-steaming Gordon remarked – then withdrew – that more training might help council “move from a daycare centre to a kindergarten.”
The only councillor voting against the final amended motion was Coun. Bob Bell. He wasn’t opposed to increased funding to the GNSC, but was opposed to taking the money out of affordable housing.
“I’m not willing to make a victim of one cause,” Bell said.