Through Bradley Wright, Director of Development Services, the Perth Community Improvement Advisory Panel requested an additional $20 000 for the 2021 Community Improvement Plan (CIP) program during Tuesday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The CIP budget offers grants to local businesses looking to invest in improvements, Councillor Brown explained, and the grant covers one third of the expected cost of the improvements, up to $5000. “If a business wanted a new sign that cost $1500,” she illustrated, “this grant would cover $500.”
The town had removed $20 000 from the 2021 CIP budget, bringing it from its original $35 000 down to $15 000, not expecting that many businesses would be seeking the grant in the tough economic fallout of the Covid-19 lockdowns. However, more businesses than expected are wishing to take advantage of the CIP grant, and restoring the funds supports Perth’s strategic plan of ensuring the economic vibrancy of the downtown district. “We’re very pleasantly surprised that more businesses are applying,” commented Councillor Brown, adding, “this additional $20 000 just brings it up to what we usually allocate.”
In his report, Wright demonstrated that the CIP’s historic return on investment shows that raising the 2021 CIP budget to $35 000 could result in business-related improvements of up to $157 000. Director of Corporate Services Brian Burns confirmed that the $20 000 will come out of the Strategic Initiatives Reserve.
Council supported this recommendation unanimously.