Council talks Hometown Manitoba 2012 0
It was decided at Monday's council meeting that the City would stick with the Hometown Manitoba program plan for 2012 and award funds to the 13 businesses looking to better their storefronts. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)
Discussion was had at length during Monday’s city council meeting about the Hometown Manitoba program for 2012 and the problems created after funding to the program was reduced by the Province.
For a number of years now the City has partnered with the Downtown Business Association (DBA), local businesses, and the Provincial Hometown Manitoba program to assist businesses in the city’s downtown in beautifying their store fronts.
Local businesses would apply by sending receipts for completed projects to a local MAFRI representative – if successful the Province would pay for a third of the project, the City would pay for the a third, and the business would pay for a third up to a set dollar value.
This year not only was the funding cut to the Provincial program but the qualifying area was expanded to include the City’s main streets – Saskatchewan Ave. and Highway 240. As a result of these changes additional criteria was included which reduced the number of approved projects; of the 21 businesses that applied for funding through the program only 13 were approved by the Province.
“The Provincial Hometown Manitoba program faced some cuts, additional criteria had to be met, and only 13 applicants were given final approval. In additional to program cuts final approval was given very late in the season, creating doubt that all the applicants will be able to complete their projects this year,” said Coun. Liz Driedger during Monday’s meeting.
The topic came up for discussion during Monday’s council meeting because the Downtown Business Association suggested the City funds be divided between all applicants and not just the 13 chosen by the Province. In the end this was not something the City was willing to support.
“I am fully in support of downtown economic development and I think it’s fantastic that we had 21 applicants that tried to access some funding from the Provincial government, and also as a result us. I’m not just sure that we want to get involved (in deviating from the program),” said Coun. Brent Budz. “Or do we follow the program that has always been adopted for the number of years that we’ve been in it?”
Council was also concerned about watering down the amount of funds given to the 13 who were chosen by that program.
“In order for us to grant all these monies to applicants we won’t have any control – we don’t know if the money is actually going to be spent unless we go and check,” added Mayor Earl Porter. “The Province makes sure that the work is done properly and to whatever their application allows. I don’t think we can jump in and pay the rest and split the thirteen’s money.”