2017 IPM to cost county nearly $550,000 says report - Dec. 22, 2016
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The Huron County Economic Development Department estimates that when the dust settles, the county will have spent nearly $650,000 to host the 2017 International Plowing Match (IPM) in Walton.
In a report presented to Huron County Council at its Dec. 14 committee of the whole meeting, Economic Development Manager Natasha Fritzley detailed the expenses, ranging from loans to in-kind contributions to actual cash contributions to the match-hosting effort.
Chief Administrative Officer Brenda Orchard said the report is as thorough as possible, including the best estimates in regards to future spending. She said that county staff has been commended by staff from neighbouring counties for its honesty.
Orchard told council that in the past, county staffs in other areas of southwestern Ontario have not been as forthcoming about IPM-hosting costs and the final costs serve as a negative surprise once the match is complete.
She wanted her report to be thorough and truthful about the costs being allocated to the match and councillors said they appreciated that honesty.
Fritzley, who is leaving the county to pursue an employment opportunity with Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company, told council that within the estimated $642,586 in costs for the IPM is the original $100,000 loan that was made to the group several years ago when Huron County was still vying to host the match and had yet to be chosen by the Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA).
Treasurer Michael Blumhagen said that while it’s true that actual costs will likely be closer to $550,000 for the match, he wanted to be honest with council. That money has gone out and it has yet to be repaid.
The intention, he said, is that the loan will be repaid with proceeds from the match, but he didn’t want to count on it in case a profit doesn’t materialize.
The breakdown of the contribution, Fritzley said, is that $113,750 will be of the in-kind variety, while $528,836 will come in the form of cash, $100,000 of which is the aforementioned loan that is expected to be repaid.
In the 2016 budget, $191,336 is budgetted for the match, in addition to $40,000 of cash and $28,500 of in-kind services to host a Huron County exhibit at the tent. That includes 20 county staff members at the IPM exhibit for five days plus their mileage, according to the report.
There are a number of cash contributions that will be made through the public works department, including $60,000 for signage and set-up and tear-down requirements, $80,000 for roadside mowing and maintenance and $10,000 for staff assistance in-kind.
Additional costs will also come from paramedic services, cultural services, the planning and development department and the economic development department.
In addition, the request for new funds in the 2017 budget is $237,500 for a total contribution of $642,586.