Board of Director’s Meeting – Minutes
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Location: Online, 6:30 p.m.
Attendees: Colin Best (CB), Ian Campbell (IC), Eric Chabot (EC), Sara Bergsma (SB), Eric Parris (EP), Kristina Tesser Derksen (KTD), Julie Rock (JR), Miguel Gonsalves (MG), Margaret Lara (ML), Joe Taglieri (JT), Rachel Shuttleworth (RS)
Guest: Tom Dusmet
EC called the meeting to order at 6:34 p.m.
EC asked the board if there was any declaration of pecuniary interest or conflict of interest. None were made.
- Have our budget meeting on January 23 to determine final Town budget. Staff suggesting a tax increase of 7.96% and we’ve been discussing ways to reduce that amount through efficiencies.
- Budget includes a request for DBIA to receive additional event support. Response from councillors to DBIA delegation in December was pretty positive and the request is aligned with the Town’s cultural and economic goals. Final decision to be made at January meeting.
- Meeting planned later in February with Town staff to go over the implications of Bill 23 (More Homes Built Faster Act) from land use planning and development perspective. Development charges will also be impacted.
- Had budget presentations today from Police and conservation authorities. Regional staff looking at 3% increase, along with around 4.7% increase for police.
- Meeting with Conservation Halton next week about the floodplain. Will report back with any updates.
- Bronte Street is open. Will be doing more work there in the spring. New regional budget includers tendering for new regional road 401 interchange.
- Bill 23 – Will be hearing more updates in the coming months including implications for our region.
- EP – Asked more details about property tax increases for Milton.
- CB – Between town, region and school board, increase may be around 4.26% or less (Town rate will depend on how the votes go for the motions on January 23). Milton has the lowest tax rate in the GTA except Toronto. Town’s proposed budget is available at Milton.ca (420 pages).
- KTD – 4.76% is the blended rate. The proposed Town portion is 7.96% as of now.
- SB moved to accept the council reports. IC seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Treasurer’s Report (MG)
- Monthly expenses came in at around $30k (as reflected in the Town reports to date), there is an additional $18k that has been spent but is not year appearing in the Town’s reports. Total expenses for the month are around $48k.
- Total expenses for the are likely around $418k. We were over the approved budget for this year but this was supported by additional revenue. Sets a good benchmark for how we should look at our budget going forward. Team did lots of work getting sponsorship and grants to support additional projects for the year.
- Revenues for the year were around $485k. May see a surplus of around $31k for this year – final numbers will be available soon as books are finalized for 2022.
- EC – Accumulated surplus?
- MG – Estimated around $200k.
- RS – A couple more vendors have requested refunds from HolidayFest 2022. Most of the refunds were processed in December 2022.
- CB moved to accept the treasurer’s reports. JR seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Executive Director’s Report (RS)
- Welcome to Tom Dusmet – thanks for joining us for the meeting.
- TD – Have been a resident of Milton since 1986 and have been involved in many community initiatives. Retired investment advisor. Have industrial and financial experience.
- We are currently working on the 2023 operating calendar and will bring a draft to the February meeting. This outlines our activities for the year and is used as a basis for sponsorship for the year. Key points to date:
- Proposing campaigns/contest/smaller activities for spring (no larger Easter event). This is consistent with what our members want and allows us to focus resources on planning for Summerfest.
- SummerFest will be first weekend in June (same timing that we used to Street Festival as many vendors and businesses assume that’s when it will happen).
- Car show – Incorporating a car show element into SummerFest worked well. Gave car owners a chance to participate but didn’t put as much strain on the car clubs to organize logistics. If we had a partner willing to take on a larger event with us we could consider it but we can’t do it alone.
- KTD – Had an impromptu car show in September. Optimist Club contact said they were happy with the smaller events. Harder to get commitments from some car owners than it used to be. We reached out to the broader community and got other car owners involved. Plan to do the event again in 2023.
- RS – Worked with Jeep Club for Winter Twinkle Express and they were great. Also, targets a younger demographic. Nice to have the opportunity to work with different car groups, could appeal to a wide range of people.
- TD – Have contacts with Fiat Club, Ferrari Club, and other car clubs. Weekly events can be tough to get people to commit to.
- RS – Milton Cruisers always managed logistics of parking 150 cars on the street. If lots of different clubs involved in one large event, could be harder to identify who manages parking, load-in, load-out (need key, experienced volunteers to manage this). Smaller events work well.
- Run Tiny Tots Trick or Treat in the fall.
- Winter – Larger winter events. Exploring possible partnership between Miracle and HolidayFest.
- Beautification – Will run garden sponsorship program this year. Consider running a seasonal light sponsorship as well.
- KTD – Could revisit the idea of doing Remembrance Day banners along Main Street in partnership with the Legion, Town, etc.
- RS – Could cost out design, banners and installation costs for this and explore feasibility with Legion, etc.
Events in December 2022
- December was a busy month event-wise.
- HolidayFest – Gained lots of valuable learning from the HolidayFest cancellation. This month, we are reviewing all event contracts (entertainers, vendors, sponsors) to see what updates are needed with respect to event cancellations. So far, less than half of our vendors have requested refunds.
- Have discussed event cancellations with other BIAs and we are all sharing lessons learned.
- Winter Twinkle Express – Positive feedback from attendees. Around 500 attended each day. Some businesses said they benefited from the activity (more so those businesses closer to Brown Street lot). Got a good amount of donations for our charity partners. Collecting further feedback from members on this through our survey underway now.
Member survey about December events and activities
- 46 responses to date, still waiting on responses from members that want to provide input.Will be really helpful feedback for planning for 2023.
- Some businesses said they don’t like so many road closures. For Holiday Street Market prior to COVID, road was closed on three consecutive Saturdays in December. During COVID there were no closures. Now we are back into road closures for events. New downtown businesses haven’t experienced road closures before.
- Many members have said they were negatively impacted by the Santa Claus Parade’s switch to a Saturday and would prefer it back on Sunday. Also had requests from a couple members that we issue a statement to the parade committee. So far, 80% of survey respondents said they wanted it on a Sunday.
- KTD – Several bands committed to other events and parades on the Sunday so organizers had to change it.
- RS – Also Police were committed to other parades on the Sunday.
- SB – We are the voice of the merchants so we should let the organizers know what our members are saying.
- TD – Sunday makes sense for a parade. Some communities do evening parades.
- RS – Will do a letter on behalf of our members requesting that the parade be held on a Sunday.
- Miracle was usually on a Monday morning, for December 2022 it was switched to a Friday night.
- Many of our businesses are closed Friday night, restaurants open. A few complaints from members about road closure.
- In order for the partnership to work well, need to ensure we agree with Tiger Jeet Singh Foundation on day of the week, time of day and footprint for winter event.
- SB – The winter event is a big undertaking for our team. Any arrangement we make needs to relieve stress and ensure it is has a net positive benefit. I think Saturday makes the most sense for events with a retail component. Would like to know how logistics would work. Would be nice to ensure we keep featuring local entertainers at the event.
- KTD – Miracle organizers estimating that Miracle attracted around 8,500 people. I like the idea of spreading the risk and the work across more people. That said, would need clarity on who would do what, who pays what, etc. Friday night event brought some benefit to downtown restaurants.
- EC – What is the impact to our budget. Consider how much time it would take to organize the event together. Two shut-downs in December is a lot (plus the parade). HolidayFest is pretty new and came up because we had money to do it. If we don’t have money, we don’t run it. We are pretty flexible.
- RS – In general, businesses benefit more when events are run in front of their stores and during their hours of operation. Would need to know if Miracle organizers are willing to run event up to Brown Street. Can’t apply for Reconnect if it’s not our event but grants are never a guarantee. Would need to see whether we would still engage sponsors or whether that would all be the foundation.
- TD – Could consider doing an event a different time of the year and spread the events out throughout the year. Weather risk is higher in the winter. Could bring people downtown when it’s less busy.
- KTD – I like the idea of tagging along on events that others are running. Example – explore working with Milton Concert Band in the summer for their concert series. Possible link to some events that happen at the Fairgrounds.
- MG – Likely can’t add new things to the calendar, but could consider a rotating schedule for some events or other partnerships.
- We are participating in provincial budget consultation meeting happening this week. Any suggestions for topics let me know and I can bring those to the meeting.
LED light displays
- KTD – Heard many positive comments from businesses and residents about the snowflakes. One business owner said his female staff feel safer leaving after their night shifts. Makes Main Street brighter.
- EC – Suggest taking them down in March, it stays lighter later after that.
- EP moved to accept the ED report. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- EC – Two staff have accumulated a lot of lieu time this year. Events are very labour intensive and we are short on staff hours available to do the work. We got a month and a half of extra time from staff this year.
- RS – It was a very busy year and we took advantage of a lot of really great opportunities to create value for our members and the community. I don’t think it will be as intense all the time, but we are definitely moving towards bigger, more impactful events projects and we’ve seen the positive impact they have. We need good staff and enough staff hours to make these things happen. Also, the additional event support we are requesting from the Town will help us fill some of the staffing gap so we can pay for additional staff hours to run the event and can keep good staff.
(In camera discussion by the board).
- KTD moved to pay out extra hours up to $6,700 for the permanent employees. SB seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- SB moved to adjourn. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- Meeting adjourned at 8:10 pm.