© Jonathan Riley
Smoke fills the air at the far end of Water Street during the Wharf Rat Rally burn out competition Sunday afternoon. (Karla’s photos from that coming tomorrow).
How much money should the town give the Wharf Rat Rally?
That was one of the toughest questions for councillors during budget talks for the town of Digby.
The rally requested $15,000 this year and half of council thought that might be too much.
“All we’re saying is we have to live within our means,” said councillor Mike Bartlett. “If we give that money to Wharf Rat, then who do we take it away from?”
Council did agree, starting next year, grants to organizations will be limited to one per cent of the town’s total revenue from the previous year.
The town had $65,000 in requests for grants this year and approved $50,700 worth. That works out to 1.5 per cent of last year’s revenues of $4,398,000.
Bartlett, Brian Manzer and Bob Handspiker would have liked to see the town stick to that one per cent this year – which would have meant cutting $6,000 from grants to organizations and bringing it down to $44,000.
Deputy Mayor Jean Brittain, councillors Danny Harvieux and Peter Turnbull and Mayor Ben Cleveland think the boost to the economy and the year round advertising and promotion of the town of Digby is something Digby can’t afford to lose.
“It tells people too that we are a town that can make things happen, events like the curling and the hockey,” said Harvieux. “The Wharf Rat Rally helps people decide that Digby is the place to hold their events because we are a supportive town and a happening town.”
All the councillors hope the town’s contribution can decrease over the next few years until the festival stands on its own.
The 2013/ 2014 budget for grants to organizations include:
$1,200 for Apple Blossom Festival
$500 for the Digby Foodbank
$15,000 for the Wharf Rat Rally
$25,000 to the Digby Area Health Services Charitable Foundation
$2,000 for the Digby Area Tourism Association
$4,500 for Digby Scallop Days
$500 for the Digby Scallop Days Queen
$2,000 for the Valley Regional Health Board’s ‘Our Community Our Health Campaign.”