Mohawk Council of Kahnawake chief Lindsay LeBorgne, executive director Onerahtókha Marquis, and executive financial officer Kyle Delisle presented the 2024-25 budget this week.Marcus Bankuti, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

With $25 million going to the Kahnawake Cultural Arts Center (KCAC) in the upcoming fiscal year, the project accounts for most of the increase in the annual budget the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) released this week.

The newly released budget, which spans April 1, 2024, to March 31 next year, projects about $101.7 million in expenses, nearly $35 million more than the 2023-2024 budget. However, there is a surplus of $12.8 million that will be put into operational reserves.

Other costly priorities in the upcoming year include a new outdoor rink project, upgrades to the Kahnawake Sports Complex, and the rehabilitation of North Creek.

“As always, our finance department has done a great job in figuring out how we’re going to be spending our money,” said MCK chief Lindsay LeBorgne, who leads the administrative affairs portfolio. “The Council table approved this budget unanimously – consensus.”

About 65 percent of expenditures are funded by outside governments, according to MCK executive director Onerahtókha Marquis.

The federal government kicked in $36.5 million, provincial $8.2 million, and the “other government” figure is $4.6 million, which is from project-specific applications to programs. Some other money from governments that was unspent this year is being used this upcoming year.

The rest of the funding comes from own-source revenue. Projects that external governments won’t cover, such as those relating to language and culture, are prioritized for spending from these funds.

“On that note, it’ll be important that we focus on own-source revenues so we can continue to sustain, even grow our operations, programs, and services at the MCK,” said Marquis.

The newly released budget comes the same week that Council and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) announced measures closing the beleaguered Magic Palace, shrinking projected revenues by an estimated $5 million. Yet the revenues from Electronic Gaming Device (EGD) are still projected to reach $20 million, $6 million more than last year, owing to an expansion of Playground Poker’s operations.

“We projected conservatively,” said Kyle Delisle, MCK’s executive financial officer, who said they didn’t know how things would go with Magic Palace, so the Finance Department opted to assume the facility would not produce royalties for MCK.

While the upcoming year’s spending on the KCAC is fully funded by external sources, the MCK is aiming not to use any community funds for the construction of the KCAC over the next few years, but between $6-8 million is still unfunded, according to the MCK.

“There are still at least two other federal programs that we’re also applying for and haven’t yet finished the fundraising campaign, so that’s still going to be ongoing as well,” said Delisle.

A $1-million pledge from Magic Palace to the project will not be forthcoming, according to MCK chief Cody Diabo, with around $250,000 transferred so far being sent back.

Other new expenses for the MCK include full renovations to 15 multi-dwelling units this year, upgrades to semi-detached homes in the New Development, and more electric buses and electric vehicle charging stations.

Besides the $101.7 million budgeted for MCK, Council provides funding to external organizations to the tune of $2.8 million, according to Delisle, including the Kahnawake Library, KOR, and the Kanien’keháka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center.

By Marcus Bankuti, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 29, 2024 at 12:47

This item reprinted with permission from   The Eastern Door   Kahnawake, Quebec
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