Bracebridge considers increasing funding for maintenance of Clock Tower
The property owners of the building, Debi and Collin Sheffield, who purchased the Tower at 49 Manitoba Street in 2015, currently receive $2500 each year for regular inspections and minor maintenance for the clock and bell, as per an agreement established in 2017.
However, the Town received a letter from them on July 18th requesting an increase in the amount of funding they contribute to be in line with inflation increases.
The letter indicated, “This past year, the expenses associated with the clock maintenance came to $14,825.00. We are seeking an increase in our funding to cover 60% of these expenses.”
The Sheffields indicate the costs are a result of “general maintenance, training caretakers, fee for the master clock maker to clean, calibrate, brush and repair clock parts as well as the management fee for organizing the operation.”
The letter continues, “While the Clock Tower Centre is privately owned, we honestly feel that the tower clock part is part of the public as it forms the iconic backdrop to the skyline of Bracebridge. Over the years, the tower clock has become a symbol of the town’s history and deserves to be maintained in a professional manner. Helping us with the costs associated with the maintenance will ensure that this treasure remains working for future generations.”
Mayor, Rick Maloney, said, “If the Sheffields are interested in engaging staff about some other issues about the clock in more detail, and they’re able to give some summary of those issues and challenges, then I’m sure staff will receive that and bring forward a report.”
He added, “This is really acknowledging that ‘yes, we did have an agreement.’ It didn’t receive the same CPI [Consumer Price Index] increases as we as a Council municipality petitioned the government for in many cases.”
He acknowledged that the agreement hadn’t been adjusted and should be and advised that the Town will request the Finance Department investigate it and include it as an allocation in the 2024 Budget, “separate and distinct from any other major issues that the Sheffields may have with the clock, and consultation, and conversation, and discussion with the Town staff.”