It took a while to get there but members of council have whittled this year’s budget increase down to 1.57 per cent.
The hike sat at 3.7 per cent when budget talks opened with a marathon session last Tuesday (Jan. 30) that saw councillors plod through the $11-million operating budget.
Deliberations resumed Monday (Feb. 5) afternoon with a review of the capital budget, which was approved by the finance committee at the close of the meeting following a few revisions by members of council.
“The capital side was approved today in order to get to the marketplace as soon as possible for best pricing on road, bridge work, vehicles and other equipment. The operational side still up for discussion,” said Mayor John Grant following the meeting.
He continued by referring to the operating budget as a “work in progress.”
“An increase of 1.57 per cent is not final but is in line with previous budgets this term at an overall average of 1.74 per cent,” he noted.
“I’m pleased to announce to our taxpayers that we were able to pare down the draft budget to 1.57 per cent, which is under the rate of inflation,” added Ward 5 Lynn Campbell.
Not surprisingly, road work is a major priority in this year’s budget.
More than $1.7 million has been set aside for the reconstruction of Thorah Sideroad from Concession 2 Thorah to Concession 11 Thorah, a project that will be offset by $1.5 million in funding from the Province.
More than $1 million has been earmarked for hard-top resurfacing and double surface treatments at various locations throughout the township, with another $430,000 for gravel resurfacing
Township staff have also set aside $315,000 for the potential purchase of the former Camp Chimo property in Port Bolster.
Some other highlights of the budget include:
$450,000 for a new pumper for the fire department;
$275,000 for a tandem dump truck and plow;
$158,875 for reconstruction of the sidewalks on Albert Street in Sunderland;
$115,650 for replacement of a culvert in the area of Concession 11 and Brock Road;
$105,750 for a bridge in the area of Conession 6 Thorah and Thorah Sideroad;
$92,700 for a bridge on Laidlaw Street South;
$55,000 worth of capital improvements at the Sunderland Town Hall, including restoration of the balcony seating and railings, masonry repair, refurbishment of the exterior doors and interior painting and repairs. There are no capital projects planned at the Beaverton Town Hall or Cannington Town Hall;
$50,000 for construction of a storage building at the Beaverton Thorah Community Centre;
$45,800 to cover the cost of design work for a potential expansion of the Sunderland Memorial Arena.
$45,000 for a new pickup truck for roads department;
$31,500 for improvements to Beaverton parks;
$30,750 for the resurfacing of parking lots;
$30,000 for repairs to the swim platform and pier at the Beaverton Harbour;
$30,000 for a new animal control vehicle;
$20,000 for construction of a barrier-free washroom at the Manilla Community Hall; and,
$18,500 for new carpet and flooring for the municipal administration building in Cannington.