The stream of billions of dollars that the Ford government has been doling out across Ontario in the final weeks of the provincial election campaign continues to be stranded in Elliot Lake.
At a committee meeting this week, Elliot Lake County. Sandy Finamore said, “Our problem here is that we haven’t…had representation from the provincial or federal levels of our community, which…is a huge impediment to seeking funding.”
An Oakville-based GrantMatch representative, Michele Trempe, appeared remotely via Zoom during a live meeting of the economic development committee on Tuesday.
She highlighted the benefits of hiring a non-partisan organization.
“We’ve leaned into this before when people pushed for us when maybe we shouldn’t have,” Finamore said.
Trempe, GrantMatch’s senior business development officer, told the committee that many of her Ontario municipal clients have the same problem as Elliot Lake, and they’ve solved it with the help of her company.
This week’s committee session turned out to be the first live-streamed hybrid meeting the city has attempted during the COVID-19 era.
The experiment suffered from various technical issues, including sound issues.
Participants present remotely complained that they could not hear what was happening in the council chamber of the town hall. At one point, the chairman of the committee, the adviser. Tom Turner exclaimed that he was practically eating the microphone in an attempt to be heard by remote attendees. IT staff were called to correct the problem.
Three councilors plus Trempe attended via Zoom while Turner, Mayor Dan Marchisella, Director of Economic Development Steve Antunes and City Manager Daniel Gagnon attended in person.
“A lot of municipalities that do this don’t have an economic development department,” the councilor said. Chris Patrie after the presentation.
He asked city staff if and when a grant supply company had been hired before, to confirm his suspicions that any previous grant supply deal hadn’t worked.
Trempe said her customers cannot duplicate her company’s level of expertise, staff support or contact base she provides.
She added that if GrantMatch is hired, Elliot Lake would retain full control of the grant process, including managing anything that comes up through city staff involvement in the application.
“The procurement company we are discussing today has the ability to identify grants that address a plethora of projects in our community,” Mayor Dan Marchisella said.
He said a grant hunter would be an asset when quick turnaround is needed to prepare an application under a tight deadline.
“The intent of the staff in presenting this was never to replace the work done by the staff in writing grants,” Antunes explained.
“The idea for the staff who presented this was to have a way to access grants that we don’t know about,” he concluded.
The committee was told that if GrantMatch alone got $1 million from Elliot Lake, its fee was $100,000. For other amounts over $1 million, the company receives $50,000 per million.
To review second, third, and often successive compliance reports, they are paid $100 per hour.
GrantMatch also charges $100 per hour if the grant or application they are applying for excludes any emergency agreement.
The committee voted to advance the GrantMatch business plan to the full board for decision.