Full county IPM costs over $850,000: report - April 19, 2018
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Huron County has arrived at its bottom-line costs for last September’s International Plowing Match (IPM), which total just over $850,000.
Howick Reeve Art Versteeg also noted that thanks to costs incurred by lower-tier municipalities for their services and expenses, especially by host municipality Huron East, IPM costs would likely easily top $1 million.
The chart, which was prepared for council at its April 11 committee of the whole meeting, came from Treasurer Michael Blumhagen. It details not only “out-of-pocket” costs, but in-kind staffing costs as well.
Not all councillors were convinced that the cost was worth what the county received in return.
“We had a great party,” Versteeg said, but then asked if it was worth spending that much money in order to have it.
“I think that’s something we should talk about when we spend that kind of money,” he said.
Huron East Deputy-Mayor Joe Steffler suggested asking IPM Chair Jacquie Bishop to return to council for another presentation. Bishop, Steffler said, could address council and speak not only to the money that is estimated to have been spent in Huron County through economic spinoff – which has been measured in the millions – but also to some of the proceeds of the match that have since been donated to local charities, which has, thus far, totalled nearly $200,000.
Goderich Deputy-Mayor Jim Donnelly said he didn’t feel there was much sense in looking back at decisions that have already been made. He said that Bishop, and the county, did a good job and the county should now “close the book” on the match and be done with it.
Warden Jim Ginn also felt as though the money had been well spent. He also pointed out that much of the staff costs, while they may have resulted in a backlog of projects depending on the department, would be money the county would have spent anyway.
The in-kind staffing costs came in at just under $500,000 – the majority of the total – which means that if that money is viewed as money the county would have spent anyway, the total looks far more reasonable, Ginn said.
Total breakdown for the in-kind costs are: Homes for the Aged, $8,898; Public Works (2016/2017), $187,231; Public Works (2018), $16,786; Emergency Services, $14,322; Chief Administrative Officer/Clerk, $19,800; Library and Cultural Services, $54,472; Social Services, $3,690; Human Resources, $6,001; Planning and Forestry, $31,469; Treasury, Provincial Offences and Information Technology, $21,310; Property Services and Housing, $26,160; Economic Development, $18,816 and $86,008 for two IPM co-ordinators (who were existing employees Jenna Ujiye and Rick Sickinger). Total in-kind staffing costs were $494,962.
As for additional labour and extra staffing costs, the county paid out $120,340. Paramedics cost the county $18,500, while the IPM liaison cost $68,000 and the IPM committee’s administration position cost $33,840. Further costs were $178,852 for the Huron County Showcase, $80,000 for roadside mowing and $14,067 for staff mileage. However, approximately $35,000 in expenses was recouped through various sale recoveries.
Total out-of-pocket expenditures were $358,762 for a total of $853,724 in IPM expenses overall.
Council accepted Blumhagen’s report.