MEDICINE HAT, AB -- The motion to decrease the City Centre Development Agency’s(CCDA) budget by $25,000 has been defeated in council.
In a 4-4 vote, the motion was defeated because of a lack of majority. Councillor Hirsch, McIntosh, Turnbull and Turner voted to cut the funding, Councillor Dumanowski, Samraj, Varga and Mayor Clugston voted to keep the funding. Councillor Friesen was away.
“A little disappointed and pleased at the same time,” says Jeremy Silver, chair of the board of directors for the CCDA. “I’m glad the motion didn’t go through and I’m a little disappointed it was split down the middle.”
On January seventh, Councillor McIntosh brought up the motion, saying downtown business owners were not happy with the CCDA.
The City provides $100,000 each year to the agency, and downtown businesses pay about $120,000.
In a roughly 30 minute debate, councillors brought up issues regarding the lack of communication with downtown business owners.
The hope is that the CCDA will define a clear strategic plan as well as improved communication over the next year.
“I think they might take a little internal look,” says Mayor Ted Clugston. “They might also maybe ask themselves what is our purpose going forward, do we need to be here anymore, do we need to be more a BIA where its run by the business owners.”
“I think this gives the CCDA a pretty clear understanding from that there are some questions in terms of whats happening,” says Councillor McIntosh. “Hopefully they’re gonna come back with a pretty clear plan about what they’re gonna be doing moving forward.”
The $100,000 that the city provides goes towards initiatives such as the downtown street-scaping program, banners and the CCIOP grant.
Silver says if the $25,000 was cut, it would come out of the CCIOP business grant, meant to help business owners improve the appearance of their storefronts.
In addition, Silver says it’s been tough re-vamping the organization after years of less than sufficient leadership.
“This agency has spent a year trying to rebuild bridges with people and let them know we are listening,” says Silver. “We are open to sitting down with business owners anytime that they want, we are always going to be receptive and we’re always willing to change.”
Councillor McIntosh says he will bring the budget cut back to the table if there’s no visible improvements in a years time.
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