Moose Jaw City Council approved a $985,000 subsidy and $500,000 line of credit that will be funded by the city for the Moose Jaw Events Centre during budget deliberations on Monday night.

OVG360 (Formerly Spectra Management) borrowed $50,000 to start up in-house food and beverage services. City council agreed to reduce the subsidy by $50,000 as repayment for the loan.

Moose Jaw City Council voted in favour of the subsidy and line of credit by a vote of 5-2 with councillors Dawn Luhning and Jamey Logan opposed.

The request for a $500,000 line of credit was due to the Moose Jaw Events Centre recovering from the pandemic, the unfunded gift cards to make good after the Ticket Rocket controversy and the absence of a naming rights partner. The line of credit interest would be at Scotiabank's prime rate of less 1.6 per cent.

The plan is that the line of credit will only be used when needed and be repaid as required. Because it is being funded by the city, any outstanding money owed will come out of the subsidy at the end of the year.

Luhning voiced her displeasure about loaning money to the Moose Jaw Events Centre.

"I don't think we should be loaning money to organizations that are a part of the city or not part of the city without some transparency. I bet everybody around this table ran on accountability and transparency and if we are going to loan money to the Moose Jaw Events Centre maybe we should give a line of credit to the Cultural Centre as well," Luhning said.

Coun. Heather Eby clarified that there shouldn't be transparency issues because the line of credit is not to be used over and above what is budgeted. City manager Jim Puffalt added that other organizations have reserves because they have been in operation for a long time and the Moose Jaw Events Centre isn't at that point. He said he fully expects that the events centre will eventually get to the point where it won't need the line of credit.

Coun. Crystal Froese said the idea behind the line of credit is so that OVG360 doesn't have to come to city council at the 11th hour for a larger subsidy because funds have run low.

"The Moose Jaw Events Centre is a completely different animal than almost every other organization we have. We deal with very large events and a lot of money coming and going while we are negotiating those types of things as well," Froese said.

The budget submitted by OVG360 for 2023 shows revenues of $2.3 million and expenses of $3.03 million. With OVG360 fees and repayment of the food and beverage loan, it brings the subsidy to $985,000, an increase of six per cent over 2022.

Having food and beverage services in-house is expected to bring in over $240,000 in revenue in 2023.

It was noted that the budget was lacking $125,000 in naming rights revenue. If there was a naming rights partner at the same rate of the previous deal, it would have decrease the subsidy by 14 per cent and bring the subsidy down to $860,000.

The Moose Jaw Events Centre will continue to use SaskTix through Paciolan as its ticket distributor. As part of the ticket contract, the city can license the Paciolan software across Saskatchewan. SaskTix is used by the Moose Jaw Warriors, AAA WINMAR Warriors, the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre, the Prince Albert Raiders, Southland Coop Centre in Assiniboia and the Prairie South School Division schools in Moose Jaw. The licensing is expected to bring in $35,966 in revenue in 2023.