Deciding how best to back entrepreneur community
Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet is opposed to the recommendations of a provincial panel calling for an increase in the gas tax to fund mostly transit infrastructure in Toronto and Hamilton.
Council will attending next year's chamber of commerce gala under a gold sponsorship but the decision is not unanimous.
The Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual achievement awards gala on Jan. 26 at the Germania Club.
The town will again attend the event in support of their small businesses, however, councillors disagreed on how best to back the entrepreneur community.
Staff recommended the town spend $600 for a silver sponsorship, plus $280 for tickets for eight members of council and staff. Economic development assistant Christine Mitchell felt the town would still have presence but could direct some monies to other initiatives.
However, Councillor Treena Lemay felt that, as the Chamber of Commerce is a lobby group for local businesses, the town should go with a gold sponsorship which would cost $1,200. If cost for tickets was an issue, she suggested councillors pay for them out of their expense accounts.
"We've had a number of our businesses recognized, we've had the mayor recognized as a citizen of the year," she said. "I think it is a really good and cheap way but to take this away from recognizing businesses in the town of Petawawa is a mistake. I don't think we should do it."
Councillor James Carmody agreed adding that if they had an immediate need for the $600 then he could see diverting it from the chamber sponsorship. He added, however, that he doesn't see anything on the horizon to warrant a change in sponsorship.
"It is more important to be a strong supporter of the town given that we are a growing community and the chamber is a strong voice for small business for our community," he said.
Moving that council support the staff recommendation, Deputy Mayor Tom Mohns, pointed out that whether it is a gold sponsorship or a silver sponsorship it makes no difference.
"We are not letting our business people down with a silver sponsorship," he said. "We are still acknowledging them. It's not like it's a one-act show."
Mayor Bob Sweet said he was annoyed by the suggestion that the municipality was not supporting small business noting that $40,000 was allocated in budget for marketing and tourism. He said the town had done its share previously sponsoring the chamber to the tune of $6,000 for many years.
"The town of Petawawa was a major, major supporter of the Chamber of Commerce at a time when nobody else was," he said. "It's my understanding that as we withdrew some of our support they would increase their membership."
The mayor also pointed out that 49 Petawawa businesses are currently members of the chamber suggesting the body needs to do some more work at recruitment.
"We spend a lot of money, a lot of time and a lot of effort supporting our small businesses," he said. "At the end of the day, I don't think this is an ungenerous amount."
In a recorded vote, the mayor and deputy mayor voted in favour of the motion. Lemay, along with councillors Theresa Sabourin, Murray Rutz, Frank Cirella and Carmody voted against it. Lemay then introduced a new motion based on a $1,200 gold sponsorship which subsequently passed with Sweet and Mohns casting the only dissenting votes.
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist