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Council eyes $65K request for July street dance

Annual savings predicted from city hall phone upgrade
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There's been a request for a bigger budget to fund this summer's downtown street dance, part of the city-sponsored Elliot Lake Uranium Days Festival in July.

City Council is being asked to spend up to $65K on the event this year. 

In a written report coming to  council Monday night, Recreation and Culture Manager Karilynn Kluke asked for a 2022 budget boost to attract better entertainment in hopes of drawing a larger than usual  crowd.

The money spent on the headlining dance artist has varied over the years, as have ticket sales which have ranged from 1,000 to 6,000. 

Upgrading the quality of talent would also boost the dance's staging costs.

Kluke wrote, "This event brings a lot of pride and tourism to the community. 

"Many Elliot Lakers return home to attend this event, and some surrounding communities make the trip to Elliot Lake to attend, depending on the headline artists," Kluke added.

The July 2 event would also feature a beer garden and spaces for local vendors.

In 2019, the last street dance before COVID-19, the city spent $13,116 for four different artists.

That year 1,070 tickets were sold generating $24K in revenue. Tickets went for $20.36 in advance and $30.09 at the door. 

Total revenue was $45,755 but with 2019 expenses at $64,052, the street dance ended up losing $18,297.

Kluke said this year the going rate for better known artists is around $60K. Fees for lesser-known acts range from $25K to $30K.

Also on Monday night's council agenda there's a staff recommendation to leave Bell behind in favour of signing with another telecom manufacturer.

It also involves signing on with a regional firm for installation and servicing a new city hall telephone system.

City Hall's Mitel Hybrid phone system was installed in 2010. Since then several handsets have failed, parts are now hard to find and system functions are severely compromised.  

After the city put out a request for a replacement, nine different telecoms responded. 

Staff has done a review and has recommended Avaya Cloud Office for its features, ease of use, cost and low changeover impact.  

City staff also recommended Nickel City Communications Ltd. of Sudbury as the best choice for installation, servicing and it's annual fees. Algoma Technology Services of Sault Ste. Marie was rated a close second.  

Avaya Cloud Office carries an annual cost of $24,350 versus Elliot Lake's current outlay of $72,584 with Bell. 

By itself that's a savings of $48,234 a year. 

If approved, the city's budget for a new phone system is $150K.That money was earmarked by council from reserves in 2018.

Implementation and one-time cost of the Avaya project carries an annual fee of $24,350, an implementation fee is $6,027 and a device and services one time charge adds $606, for total of $30,984. 

If approved, additional reserves funding would be used to pay for cancellation of the city's Bell contracts. 

Those costs are yet to be determined. 


About the Author: Brent Sleightholm

As a reporter, Brent has covered everything from amateur and professional sports, to politics, entertainment, police and courts, to human interest stories and government issues
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