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This article was published 8/1/2019 (1054 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Brandon Downtown Development Corp. is asking the City of Brandon for $350,000 in funding for 2019, a request worth $50,000 more than what council approved for the organization last year.
Executive director Elisabeth Saftiuk spoke to Brandon City Council Monday night to thank Mayor Rick Chrest and council for their support over the past few years and for giving the corporation the "positive momentum" it needed.
Saftiuk said she believed that the corporation offered tremendous value, given the "significant" amount of private investment it has been able to gather, despite the "scarce" public resources it has received.
The city and provincial government each provided the corporation with $250,000 annually up until last year, when the province ended its multi-year agreement with the corporation.
Council increased its annual funding to the BDDC by $50,000 in the city’s 2018 budget as a result, for a total contribution of $300,000.
Saftiuk said while she continues to have conversations with the provincial departments of Municipal Relations and Growth, Enterprise and Trade, even taking the minister of Municipal Relations on a tour through downtown, she has yet to receive a commitment from the province for another multi-year funding agreement.
"With that said, I think that we have done a good job of taking advantage of any funding opportunity from the province that has been put in front of us," she said, pointing to the nearly $53,000 in funding that the BDDC was able to solicit from the province for Chez Angela Bakery and Café.
"I am very hopeful that we can get a renewed funding agreement with the province, but at least tap into specific funding opportunities," she said.
Councillors touted the corporation for the work it does downtown, although Coun. Kris Desjarlais (Rosser) noted that he believes the conversation around funding should take place during budget deliberations.
Coun. Shawn Berry (Linden Lanes) also noted that $250,000 had been set aside in the proposed 2019 budget, meaning the BDDC was asking for $100,000 more in funding than administration had accommodated for.
Chrest said $250,000 is the standard amount that the BDDC has received in past years, but that council has been topped it up during previous budget talks.
Council voted to send the matter to budget deliberations, which are scheduled for Jan. 25 and 26. A public budget open house has also been set for Jan. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the main foyer of city hall.
The BDDC is a non-profit, arms-length agency of the city whose role is to develop Brandon’s downtown.
The corporation offers financial assistance through different means, including its redevelopment grant and rent abatement programs.
During her presentation, Saftiuk highlighted a number of projects that the organization has been involved with, their the resulting return on investment for the city through rising assessment values and property tax revenue, and what the corporation has planned for the coming year.
Examples of projects Saftiuk pointed to include Tour Indoor Cycling, Shawarma Queen and the Bass Building development, the latter of which has brought in a 1:19 return on investment.
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