Monday was the first official meeting of council for 2019, and meeting number 4 of 88 (for those who are keeping track).
Another couple of busy weeks as we inch closer to budget deliberations. Councillors spent the holidays pouring over the budget binders to get a handle on the upcoming process. As you may have heard, the proposed budget came in at 3.91%. Admittedly, this is higher than I had hoped for, but a number of factors have come in to play that have effected this budget. First, a drop in revenue this year (particularly at the Eastview Landfill site) has caused a sharp decrease in overall revenue for the City of Brandon. Something council will be charged in considering when deliberating this budget. More of that later though.
This meeting was chalked full of presentations and considerations. Four separate groups made presentations to council.
We lead off with a presentation from the Brandon Sport Alliance. The Alliance is hopeful to establish a mechanism whereby various sports in the city work collaboratively for a common goal to make delivery of sport in the Westman area more seamless. For more information on their program go to the 3:13 minute of the video below.
Following that, the Brandon Riverbank Inc. presented their annual report. New GM James Montgomery was joined by board chair Bernie Chrisp. You can follow along with their presentation, beginning at the 32 minute mark of the video below. It is also available in PDF format here. I was happy to hear as part of their presentation that the Brandon Riverbank is nearing completion on Festival Park. The space will officially open late Spring, and will be ready in time for Canada Day celebrations later this year (pictured above).
Third, was a delegation from the Brandon Downtown Development Corporation (55 minute mark of the video). The group is responsible for helping spur along growth in Brandon’s downtown. For those who may not know, I spent the better part of three years as Chair of the group from 2011-2014 (then under the name Renaissance Brandon). Their Director, Elisabeth Saftiuk was appearing before council to discuss their ask for increased funding in the 2019 budget. The current proposed budget for the Brandon DDC in 2019 is $250,000. The group is seeking an increase of $100,000, for a proposed budget allotment of $350,000. I had a couple of questions with regards to this ask, namely, whether the Province of Manitoba was committing any dollars to the Brandon DDC. Under the previous government, The Brandon DDC (Renaissance Brandon), received matching funds from the Province of Manitoba to help make progress on downtown development. This agreement was terminated in 2018 prior to the end of the contract. Currently the Province of Manitoba does not provide any funds in a matching capacity to the DDC. They have funded project specific dollars over the past couple of years, but a straight up contribution is no longer present. This does make it more difficult to attract larger projects to Brandon’s downtown as ultimately their operating capital is drastically reduced. Council will debate this proposed increase on January 26, 2019 as part of our budget deliberations. For more information on the Brandon Downtown Development Corporation, visit the link here.
Last but not least, a presentation from the Westman Multicultural Festival. As you know, the festival takes place at the end of January throughout the city. Their presentation begins at the 1h43min mark.
Find out more about the festival here.
Next up is a community forum on the budget. I welcome you to attend on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the main foyer of City Hall.
If you have any question prior to that, feel free to reach out, give me a call at 204.724.0334 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video of our meeting can be found below.
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On anything presented here, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments. I’m always open to hearing what you have to say.