© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
Coun. Heather Eby and Coun. Dawn Luhning are pictured atthe Jan. 13, 2014 budget committee meeting at city hall.
The Telus Cup host organizing committee received half of the funding it requested from the city.
Budget committee passed Coun. Patrick Boyle’s motion to give the organizing committee $25,000 with funding from the parks and recreation budget under miscellaneous grants. The committee had requested $50,000.
“I put the motion out there because I think it’s a benefit to the city and they didn’t get what they were asking for,” said Boyle. “I think what we’re potentially proposing out there is fair.”
The Telus Cup will be at Mosaic Place from April 21 to 27 at Mosaic Place. The Midget AAA national championship will feature six teams, including the Moose Jaw Generals, and there will be 19 games.
However, Coun. Dawn Luhning said she didn’t support the $50,000 in funding for the Scotties and she didn’t support any proposed funding for the Telus Cup for the same reasons.
“I believe it’s time to start digging our heels in and saying no to certain groups because we have other issues that need to be dealt with in this city, not hockey and not curling events all the time,” she said.
Prior to the motion getting approval, Telus Cup funding was not included in the funding. She said taxpayers shouldn’t pay for these events when the organizing committees could go out and get business sponsorship instead.
“We have to get our priorities straight and … I have no problem with tax increases if the average citizen sees an increase in the value of their services,” said Luhning. “I walk away from my office to my car and I get stopped by people that say, ‘How come we have to shovel our sidewalks and the city can’t clean the ruts on the street in front of my business?’ It’s stuff like that that we have to get better at.”
Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick said she didn’t disagree with Luhning’s points, but she felt the city should “continue to support initiatives that come to the city.”
“Coun. Boyle’s motion is more in line with what I had been considering,” she said. “I just do wish that this one had come to us in a more organized manner than at this late date.”
Boyle said since 2011, the miscellaneous grants line decreased from $41,000 to $29,000.
But Coun. Brian Swanson asked what the miscellaneous grants budget line was for 2014. Brian Acker, director of financial services, said without the Telus Cup funding, the budget line in 2014 is $63,388, $50,000 of which is Scotties funding. Including the $25,000 for the Telus Cup, the budget line is $88,388.
Swanson asked what the budget line was three years ago and after suggesting around $12,000, Acker said the budget line was “probably in that range.”
“This will become, in percentage terms, the fastest-growing budget line in our operating budget, giving money to groups that don’t organize very well, come in late and expect the taxpayers to chip in,” said Swanson.
He added the biggest beneficiaries of these events are hotels.
“We should have a comprehensive strategy that makes use of the multitude of excellent recreational and cultural resources that we have in the city and we should plan around it and we should have as a source of funding a destination-marketing fee, but those who benefit most from these events don’t think it’s worth their while.”
Boyle said he still believed in supporting his motion, but he liked the idea of a “comprehensive strategy” as Swanson suggested.
Boyle’s motion was passed in a vote of 4-3 with Swanson, Luhning and Coun. Don Mitchell opposed and Boyle, Kirkpatrick, Mayor Deb Higgins and Coun. Heather Eby in favour.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.