Some financial help may be on the way as the Hamilton Farmer’s Market suffers through the ongoing pandemic.
Downtown councillor Jason Farr has recommended a $30,000 grant, funded from economic development or COVID-19 relief reserves, to assist with marketing of the cultural institution.
His motion received unanimous preliminary support during Thursday’s municipal budget deliberations.
Farr says there are certain things that council can do to support the market, adding that a one-time grant under the “extraordinary circumstances that our cherished vendors and our market is going through, we can do.”
The Hamilton Farmer’s Market has seen a significant drop in revenues because of COVID-19 lockdowns and a major decline in foot traffic due to a big decline in the number of people working from downtown offices due to the pandemic.
City councillors have heard that 20 per cent of the market’s stalls, 11 of 55, are currently unoccupied, and almost half of vendors who remain have not signed their 2021 contracts.
Hamilton politicians also received 2021 budget submissions from the Hamilton Police Service and Hamilton Public Library on Thursday.
The police service is seeking $176.6 million this year, which represents a 2.98 per cent increase and makes up 18 per cent of the city’s total tax levy.
Retiring Police Chief Eric Girt has thanked councillors for their annual oversight, saying that “taking tough questions should always be part of this process,” adding that it is, “so important for public confidence.”
Girt says 91 per cent of the police budget is tied to salaries and benefits.
The Hamilton Public Library is seeking a 1.5-per cent increase to its $32 million budget.