Baker not bullish on giving $10,000 to Ramblers

Dave Mathieson
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Bakers says town should take team over if funding continues

George Baker (right) speaks against a motion providing $10,000 in support to the MHL Amherst Ramblers during Monday’s meeting of council meeting.

AMHERST – Amherst town council passed a motion during Monday’s meeting which, “approves funding support for the Amherst Jr. A Ramblers in the amount of $10,000."

One councillor, George Baker, opposed the motion, while the others five supported the motion.

“Look at our tennis courts, garbage, look at our basketball courts, garbage, look at our ball field, garbage,” said Baker during an interview after the meeting. “Instead of giving all this away, why don’t we put money into something for everybody in our community, not one organization.”

Before discussing his concerns about the $10,000, Baker wanted to make it clear that he is a supporter of the Ramblers organization.

“The Ramblers is very, very important to our community and very, very important to our stadium and for the revenue of the stadium,” said Baker.

But he says the town already provides enough financial support for the Ramblers.

“I’m not against helping the Ramblers, I’m against adding another $10,000 to their budget because they’re already getting over $16,000 from the town,” said Baker. “My concern is that, what if minor hockey comes in next year and says they’re $20,000 in the red, or the skating club costs $20,000, are we going to do it for them too?”

Baker says the town has a deal on advertising with the Ramblers, which gives them half the advertising revenue.

“That’s about $8,000 a year, and then we pay another $5,000 on the security people who come in. That’s $13,000,” said Baker. “We also give them two free rentals at Amherst Stadium during the summer for fundraisers. That’s another $1,500.”

Baker also says the Ramblers have a very good deal with the bar at Amherst Stadium.

“In most rinks the bar is split between the town and the team,” he said. “We give the Ramblers all the bar on top of that, so we’re way over and above what we should be doing.”

Instead of running to the town for $10,000, Baker says the Ramblers need to do more fundraising to make up the shortfall.

“If you’re running a business and the revenue isn’t high enough to run your business you cut the expenses, instead of that they’re increasing their expenses,” said Baker. “They said bus costs are going up but they have four less away games (this coming year). It might have gone up a little bit but that should come down some.

“They should have made an effort to go out and do more fundraising to cover that $10,000,” he added.

Baker says if the town is going to provide more than $25,000 in funding per year, then the town should take the team over.

“I think the town should wake up and realize that if they want a junior hockey club here then the town should take it over, have an executive of five people and have a booster club off to one side,” he said. “We’ll make sure the sponsors all stay on board and then on Jan. 10, when they need money to buy those one or two extra players to go a little bit further, the town will be there to write that cheque.”

The synopsis of the funding request read to council before the vote on the motion says the economic impact of the Ramblers for the Town of Amherst is more than $1 million annually.

“With a direct economic impact of over $400,000 annually in direct receipts, the overall impact to restaurants, hotels and general retail would be estimated at over $1 million dollars,” said the synopsis.

Baker says the $1 million is nonsense.

“Where would the spinoff be?” asked Baker. “If a team hits a storm or has a double header they might stay here one night, but where’s the spinoff, they all buy their food at my canteen.”

Baker said anybody could easily divide $1 million into 24 home games ($41,666.66 per game) and realize the number is not realistic.

“The $1 million is there to make it look good for the councillors who voted for it.”

Baker says the more the town does for the Ramblers, the less the Ramblers will do in terms of raising money.

“As an elected official, I was elected to make sure every organization is treated fair but I think we’re overdoing it with the Ramblers.”








Organizations: Amherst Jr. A Ramblers, Amherst town council, Ramblers organization

Geographic location: Amherst Stadium

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Recent comments

  • fact provider
    July 01, 2014 - 21:20

    when riley was in charge the stadium was standing room only...he also lives most of the time at the Amherst shore and has done nothing but win at every level.

  • Tax Payer
    June 27, 2014 - 09:59

    I find this whole topic a bit stupid. If we have a semi-professional sports team that cannot pay it's way I do not understand how anyone can expect the tax payer to foot the bill. My tax dollars should go to running the town in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainably manner. Money for sports should come from the town but be ear marked for community needed and supported activities and facilities - parks and community recreational facilities, including the stadium. Mr. Bird, macro economics is like statistics, looks good on paper but often no link to reality.

  • Jay
    June 27, 2014 - 00:59

    Shocker, the town votes to give more money to the ramblers. I agree with George, the town should focus on the town, not 1 already overpaid team. I dont believe George is doing this as grudge against the team for anything. I think he is the only elected official that isnt bought or getting his pockets lined by the bigger organizations. I find it funny that money always goes to the ramblers or the ymca. If anyone else needed funding it would be sorry, dont have the funds to support you. Meanwhile the town is going to shit in a hand bag, but yet our hockey team will be good.

  • Jay
    June 27, 2014 - 00:56

    Shocker, the town votes to give more money to the ramblers. I agree with George, the town should focus on the town, not 1 already overpaid team. I dont believe George is doing this as grudge against the team for anything. I think he is the only elected official that isnt bought or getting his pockets lined by the bigger organizations. I find it funny that money always goes to the ramblers or the ymca. If anyone else needed funding it would be sorry, dont have the funds to support you. Meanwhile the town is going to shit in a hand bag, but yet our hockey team will be good.

  • Killer Karl Krupp
    June 26, 2014 - 15:50

    To my old friend the Cuban...we have a critical situation going on here with the Rams that needs to be looked after..the team seems to be making some changes and building for their near future with the anticipation of a Fred Page Cup...some things are making people upset and rethinking supporting the Rams..but with must have bad...the Rams have always been and will be for quite some a landmark of the community....So let's get this right..and give er...The Rams have some big players that just might land here....when that happens I'll bet there will be some negative people rethink what they have thought in the past couple of weeks..until hockey season starts my friend,I will have to decline on the Cuba trip...but in February when it's -30.....I'll be looking you up..and just maybe apply The Claw......LOL

  • Doug.P
    June 26, 2014 - 11:05

    So the the Town should take over the ramblers? That's some pretty funny stuff there. because local government should be in the business of running local sports teams...Good freakn' grief, It isn't any wonder why we have some the highest tax rates in Canada. If you want to keep paying for asinine ideas like this you can expect you rates to keep climbing to cover their stupidity.

    June 26, 2014 - 10:35

    Hey Killer my old friend, it's been awhile since the great Amherst Stadium has seen our shadows, maybe we can have a no holds barred match to raise a few bucks for the Ramblers, see you next month in Havana for my annual party with Fidel. GO RAMS GO!!!

    June 26, 2014 - 10:19

    GO RAMS GO, Hey Killer when are you coming to Havana to visit your old buddy? We could have a match at the Amherst Stadium to raise a few funds for the Ramblers but if I see that Leo Burke anywhere on Church street it's on !!!!!

  • Robert Bird
    June 26, 2014 - 10:00

    Based on macro economic principles and the multiplier effect the economic impact of the Ramblers in not nonsense. It is actually more like $1,160,000. The social impact is priceless. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but facts are facts.

  • Killer Karl Krupp
    June 26, 2014 - 09:43

    Ahhh sounds like we have quite a situation here...maybe we should have a Council vs Executive no DQ match to settle it all....Let's Go Rams....PS...Hello to my old Cuban friend....LOL

  • no quick fix
    June 26, 2014 - 09:10

    Fist off Mr Bakers comments should not be a surprise to anyone, he seems to get very vindictive when it come to the Ramblers. Yes some of my tax dollars should go to support a Sat night tradition . I will also add that Mr Baker's canteen revenues would drop very substantially if the Ramblers were no longer in the house on St nights. I also have not forgotten comments made by Mr Baker made when he lost the mayor race a few years back.

  • Another Thought
    June 26, 2014 - 08:36

    Who are the Ramblers?

  • Media Boy
    June 26, 2014 - 06:08

    I'm not surprised to see Baker voting against town council giving money to the Ramblers; after all, he was given the bum's rush by that organization after losing a power play. This is nothing but sour grapes, and readers ought to consider the source. Baker's an embarrassment to the town and we, the voters, should make sure he doesn't get re-elected next time. And elected officials and employees of the town should be prohibited from doing business with the town i.e. bidding on the rights to run the Stadium canteen.

  • Inside the stadium
    June 26, 2014 - 05:00

    I am at every game and I agree 100% with George. The team is not 100% supported by Amherst just a small percentage. If the support of the fans were there then the building would be packed every night. The town needs to put revenue in the right places. Those that agree need to look to George in the future. If he is going to take stands like this against an organization that he used to be in charge of perhaps it is time to look to him as mayor. I am one that in the past would never jump on the Baker bandwagon but I have been saying this for years. If the town is going to throw so much money in to the Ramblers what about Minor Baseball, Minor Basketball, Minor Hockey, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Minor Soccer? Our parks are in horrible shape! We probably have the worst tennis courts, basketball courts, etc. around. I think that $10,000 could be put to better use. If the Ramber's fans want to start complaining about Mr. Baker not supporting this funding then they need to start to go to the games and standing behind a team that year in and year out cries for funding. Way to go George!!

    • observer
      June 26, 2014 - 07:20

      I agree as well but the funny thing is he is saying the Rams are poorly run and are looking for handouts. Mean while the town tennis courts and ball fields , and parks are in disarray we pay people to look after those things almost like the pot calling the kettle black . Didn't hear so much passion when the town wasted our money on the concrete paridise or the broken brick pathways . How about town hall now sitting idle more money thrown away . This is just a few of the things that I and most people say are wasteful . Its 10 000 dollars , to a local team that the town has supported for years . For George to say the team isn't being run right I say TOUCHE the town seems to have a lot to clean in their own back yard . Just saying

    • ramfan
      June 26, 2014 - 11:25

      Not all at the ram games are from Amherst ,think we know that,county also supports the rams,poster says who are the ramblers,you've got to be kidding me,it is time for Baker to drop the gruges he has for the rams,stop acting like a spoiled child.

    • wingman
      June 26, 2014 - 19:06

      It's not totally Georges fault it's his and every politician from the Feds right down to municipal governments who remember why the Lottery was started. It was started to support minor sports in this country which meant minor baseball, minor hockey all minor sports but all of a sudden this money went into general revenues and sports organizations were forgotten about. Now it's up to all Politicians to start demanding this money be put back where it belongs.

  • vennah
    June 25, 2014 - 21:27

    Being a Springhill resident and Ramblers supporter maybe most councils should have a George Baker to look after the citizens interest . Maybe if we had a person such as George on our previous Springhill councils Springhill would not be in the situation we are in now. Keep up the good work George!

  • know it all
    June 25, 2014 - 21:11

    well poor George couldn't get any money from the town for his Jr. C team and comes out in public and totally embarrasses himself again big surprise , No Ramblers no Amherst Stadium as they are the main draw card in Amherst .Remember people don't buy anything at the expensive canteen and remember next election - bury the town loser

    • concerned
      July 02, 2014 - 12:39

      As far as the George Baker and the Jr C team he helps out raising funds for the team.The Jr C has not received any funds from the Town or will it in the near future.We rasie or funds by having fundraisers throughout the year and many sponsors from all over that support JR C .So before people have something to say about JR C they should get all the fact.

  • Concerned Citizen
    June 25, 2014 - 20:47

    George Baker being George Baker, fell from grace with the team, questionably won the contract for the canteen again. George if you can't do the job with an unbiased, non bitter take on things, then don't do it

  • snoop
    June 25, 2014 - 19:46

    George isnt against the ramblers. George is for the town and I agree with him. Look at the other facilities around town. Tennis courts, ball fields, etc. Minor hockey costs are very high and they fundraise. So maybe the 10000 bucks could go to that as well. The ramblers get enough money from the town. What about the LOCAL youth? Should they not have adequate fields and facilities to play on? Should the town help them first? I sure think so.

    • ramfan
      June 25, 2014 - 21:15

      George seems to forget that the stadium is getting a new time clock at no cost to the town,the rams are the biggest draw for his canteen seems he is shooting himself in the foot,people won't forget this ,especially the ram fans.

  • Jenn
    June 25, 2014 - 19:38

    Good for Baker! Reads like common sense to me. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Rams organization been run wrong too long. Let the town run it and make fundraising $10,000 annually MANDATORY. It would be different if the teams were local boys, the local boys are told too bad you aren't allowed to play, but local support is what keeps em going....? Mandatory fundraising.... For everyone. If the club can't fundraise they don't deserve to play.

  • Jack on the Rocks
    June 25, 2014 - 19:06

    Maybe Rams fans will remember who runs the Stadium Canteen and start bringing their own snacks to the game....

  • Jeff A
    June 25, 2014 - 18:57

    More Fund RAISING would be great , Get the Player out in the community more to draw support , rasie ticket prices by $1 and lower The new Coaches Salary to 40k a year instead of 50K . Have more Audience Interaction between periods, Have Rambler Players Greet people at the Front door , Dontation Buckets at Bingo, Rambler Players Talent Shows , im sure people would pay to see that , ALL PROCEEDS TO GO TO SAVE THE RAMBLERS!!!

    • In The Know
      June 26, 2014 - 22:00

      As a reliable source, I can guarantee that the new coaches salary is very close to 40k a year. As per the ticket prices, we average about 600 fans per game, increasing the ticket price even by a dollar will have that number go down. People already complain about the ticket prices now as it is. Our new coach Josh is a VERY community oriented man and I am sure that the Ramblers will be very visible in the community this year.

  • Dave
    June 25, 2014 - 18:42

    Way to go George ! That makes sense!!

  • ramfan
    June 25, 2014 - 18:25

    Sure sounds like Baker is agains't the rams,he wasn't when he was gm.Can't believe he is acting like this.