City council has voted to reinstate $50,000 in funding for Renaissance Brandon, which was originally slashed from the tentative 2013 budget.
The downtown development corporation will receive the full $250,000 in funding from the city this year, the same amount that has been provided since Renaissance Brandon’s inception in 2008.
"It’s a great commitment to downtown Brandon, and we’re starting to turn the corner there as far as growth and this builds on our opportunities," Renaissance Brandon board chair Shaun Cameron said following the vote.
During city budget deliberations on Jan. 12, council voted to reduce the Urban Renewal funding to $200,000 in the 2013 budget. The full loss would have been $100,000, as the province matches the dollars the city provides.
Cameron said it would have been a "major blow" to the organization.
"With a reduction in place like that we had to look at it from a board standpoint, we were looking at some of the programming that we provide down there, as well as some of the esthetic appeal to the downtown with the funds in place, so now it does allow us to move forward in a more positive way," Cameron said.
Coun. Murray Blight (Victoria) brought the motion of reconsideration to council.
"Seeing that we have an opportunity to have funding from the province … I think it’s straight-forward, a no-brainer that we should pursue in getting the funds that are available to us, in helping towards the downtown development," Blight said last month.
Councillors Blight, Corey Roberts (Rosser), Jeff Fawcett (Assiniboine) and Mayor Shari Decter Hirst voted against the motion to reduce $50,000 from Renaissance Brandon’s funding in 2013.
Coun. Stephen Montague (Meadows) and Coun. Shawn Berry (Linden Lanes) voted in favour of the reduction. Councillors Len Isleifson (Riverview) and Garth Rice (South Centre) abstained from voting, while councillors Jeff Harwood (University) and Jan Chaboyer (Green Acres) were not at the meeting. Coun. Jim McCrae (Meadows) recused himself.
The city’s director of finance, Val Rochelle, said the additional $50,000 in the 2013 budget would have meant the mill rate would increase from 0.98 to 1.11 per cent. For a property assessed at $200,000, that would mean an additional $2.25 in property taxes.
However, several councillors expressed concern about increasing the 2013 mill rate and came up with a solution to keep the mill rate increase at 0.98 per cent.
Council voted to reduce $25,000 from the 2013 budget, which would have gone to the planning department to focus on building equivalencies in the downtown.
Council also voted to task administration to find a further $25,000 reduction to the budget.