By Trevor Busch
Taber and District Chamber of Commerce (TDCC) is requesting a $1,500 annual increase to their Town of Taber allocation in that body’s 2017-2019 budget.
Speaking as a delegation to town council’s Sept. 26 regular meeting, for the 2017-2019 fiscal years , the TDCC requested funding of $20,000 per year, including $14,500 to operate the Tourist Information Centre, $3,000 for the annual parade, and $2,500 for the town’s annual chamber membership.
“Probably the biggest thing that we were able to do this year was to build the new stage in Confederation Park, for Cornfest and other activities, and that was a big project that we were able to complete,” said TDCC president Matt Williams.
The TDCC consisted of 251 members in 2016, and has been involved in Cornfest 2016, Taber Parade, TDCC annual dinner, Midnight Madness, participation with the Joint Economic Development Committee (JEDC) and Business Impact Brunch; operation of the Tourist Information Centre, which hosted 450 tourists in 2016; renting of tables and chairs to 48 individuals and businesses; and the construction of a permanent stage facility in Confederation Park.
“Last year, we asked for $18,500, which was a reduction from the year before, which was $20,000,” said Bruce Warkentin, who chairs the TDCC’s finance committee. “We’d gone from $20,000 two years ago to $18,500 last year, and back to $20,000. So we’re back to where we were two years ago.”
In 2015, the TDCC saw total revenues of $294,091, while total expenses topped $253,147, with an excess of revenue over expenses of $40,944.
“This last year we built the stage, that pretty much wiped out most of those reserves,” said Warkentin. “Which we believe was a great asset to Cornfest, really helped with set-up and take down, and we think that stage is going to be an asset for the town for many, many years to come. It really added to the credibility of the event, to choose a cement structure rather than a temporary stage, and I think it’s really helped with sound, and just the enjoyment of the event.”
Organizational priorities for 2017 consist of building on the success of the JEDC, celebration of Cornfest 2017 on Aug. 24-27, and continuing to evaluate and proceed with a cooperative effort between Community Futures Chinook and the TDCC regarding options for a new building.
“We’re trying to drive local spending at restaurants, so we developed a restaurant app that is supposed to be paired with the Pheasant Festival that’s coming up,” continued Warkentin. “Eight hundred hunters are going to be coming into town, so we’ve got a restaurant app called ‘Taste of Taber’ where you can get all the online menus, addresses, and phone numbers, so it’s easy to order locally instead of driving to Lethbridge. That’s one of the initiatives that we’ve been working on.”
At their Sept. 26 regular meeting, town council voted unanimously (6-0) to receive as information the request for funding from the Taber and District Chamber of Commerce for consideration in the Town of Taber 2017-2019 budget deliberations. Coun. Laura Ross-Giroux was absent.