By Barb McKay
The Penetangore Regional Economic Development Corporation (PREDC) cleared the air with Kincardine council last week by taking questions over its financial records.
The economic development corporation presented its audited financial statements for 2011 and its proposed budget plan for 2013 at last Wednesday’s council meeting. The municipality has set aside $140,000 in its draft capital budget for a fee for service agreement, but some members of council questioned how those funds are being spent and if the municipality is getting enough bang for its buck.
Councillor Maureen Couture said during budget discussions last Monday that she is concerned that it took months to receive any kind of financial statements.
“They may be doing great things but I want to know what they’re doing and I want to know before we do the budget,” she said.
Councillor Ron Coristine, also a director with PREDC, said the corporation formed just 18 months ago and needs time to establish itself. Deputy mayor Anne Eadie agreed.
“To me, they’ve been able to accomplish much more than when we had (economic development) with the municipality,” she said. “We have people on the board with great business connections and it takes awhile to bring things together.”
Councillor Mike Leggett said he believes the money allocated to PREDC is money well spent. He pointed out that the board of directors is largely made up of members of the municipality’s former economic development committee and they are doing the work on a volunteer basis.
Last Wednesday, PREDC executive director Gerry Taylor said the two sides need to come together in order to attract and retain business and industry.
“The barrier has to come down and we have to work together,” he said.
PREDC has signed a service agreement with Huron-Kinloss for economic development work, including the natural gas project.
“We’re trying to work with adjacent communities to come up with opportunities that will be win-win for Kincardine and the adjacent community,”
PREDC director Linda Bowers presented the corporation’s financial statements for 2011.
“Everything was accounted for appropriately,” she said.
She noted that the 2012 statements have not been prepared yet but said she had been assured by BDO Dunwoody that other clients had not received their 2012 financial statements either.
Councillor Ken Craig questioned why the 2013 budget proposal included a $150,000 contribution from Kincardine when $140,000 is being proposed in the municipal budget. Bowers answered that $140,000 had been allocated in 2012 and she assumed that was why council included that amount in this year’s budget.
“One the whole, I’m glad to see our neighbouring communities are taking part of this, both in expense and in revenue,” he said. “Good work. But I would like to stick with $140,000.”
This year, PREDC is working on the a proposal to set up offices in the former Foodland building for the corporation, the Kincardine and District Chamber of Commerce and the Kincardine BIA (all of whom make up Team Kincardine).
“It would be nice if we had a couple of months so we could have a polished business plan, but we don’t,”
PREDC is also working on developing an economic development magazine, Sustain, which will be distributed to industry site selectors, government agencies and ministries and foreign embassies.
This spring the corporation is planning to hold its second community meet and greet event.