Town Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night focused on external organizations’ requests.

The Smithers Public Library, The Bulkley Valley Museum, Smithers Art Gallery and The Bulkley Valley Community Arts Council presented their 2018 budgets which included their operating budget funding requests.

The Smithers Public Library funding request is for the amount of $313,079.00. The bulk of the monies being requested is for staff wages ($310,834.00) and is similar to last year’s ask. Two new funding requests were added which include new employee training wages ($896.00) and funding for new technology and equipment purchases and strategic planning expenses ($8000.00).

The Bulkley Valley Museum funding request is $82,385 which includes their base funding of $71,780, $1005 for CPI, and $9,600 as a special project fund to extend their current Archivist’s contract by an additional 12 weeks.

Smithers Art Gallery funding request is $32,805 which includes the CPI increase.

BV Community Arts Council funding request is $5000, a slight increase from the amount of their previous request of $4000. This new increase follows the BC Arts Council maximum matching fund.

This is the second year committee members are presented with organizations’ funding requests before making a decision.

Councillor Wray commented that for years organizations would present their requests and then the committee members would debate the asks on the spot.

“For years it was always, ‘you ask’ and then we argue over it. It was kind of unsatisfying being around the finance table and then making a decision just around numbers. You know that all the work being produced is valuable, so it’s nice to know that you can support it in a nice way.”

Councillor Brown also echoed Councillor Wray’s sentiments and added that the level of arts activity enriches the community.

“It just reinforces the number of arts and culture level of activity that we have in this community and how much the community is enriched as a result of this work.”

All funding requests will be considered during the Finance Committee Operating Budget meetings sometime in February.