Members of council may have taken a long, circuitous route to get there but they have delivered a balanced budget.
The 2019 budget was approved in principle with no tax increase following three full days of deliberations on Monday (Feb. 4) after council concluded its review of the capital budget. The operating budget was on the table Jan. 25 and Feb. 1.
Local politicians actually trimmed the budget to a decrease but ultimately decided to set aside an additional $45,000 for downtown revitalization and put slightly more than $41,000 back into reserves.
The most significant change made on the capital side saw members of council draw from development charge reserves to finance half of the cost of a $340,000 tanker for the fire department.
Other proposed projects were scrapped outright, including $50,000 for new concrete steps and a ramp for the Beaverton Town Hall (front entrance to the east), $31,000 for a new administration vehicle for the fire department and $18,500 for new flooring at the Wilfrid Community Hall.
While the focus may have been on trimming the budget, council made a concerted effort to invest in infrastructure, pushing three new bridge projects forward to this year (that will all be funded through the federal gas tax reserve) and spending an additional $75,000 to pave rural roads.
Some other highlights include $60,000 to hire new staff for bylaw enforcement and animal control and $100,000 to develop concept drawings of the Sunderland Memorial Arena.
Highlights of the capital budget include:
– $1.2 million for the reconstruction of Sideroad 18;
– $740,000 for new works department equipment, including a backhoe and grader;
– $625,000 for the double surface treatment of roads;
– $552,000 for road resurfacing;
– $441,000 for gravel resurfacing;
– $250,000 for the Rick MacLeish Community Centre in Cannington;
– $162,500 for sidewalk replacement;
– $130,000 for the replacement of a bridge on Concession 5;
– $111,000 for the Beaverton-Thorah Community Centre;
– $80,000 for streetlights;
– $50,000 for a new generator at the municipal office in Cannington;
– $45,000 for the Manilla Community Hall;
– $26,000 for the Sunderland Town Hall;
– $31,500 for parking lot resurfacing;
– $30,000 for new LED lighting at the municipal office in Cannington;
– $20,000 for the Beaverton Town Hall; and,
– $10,000 for bleachers at the Sunderland fairgrounds;
– $9,000 for the Wilfrid Community Hall;