Regional councillor won’t support 2019 budget

Not all members of Brock Township council are on board with the 2019 budget being approved without a tax increase.

At Monday (March 11) afternoon’s finance committee meeting, Regional Councillor Ted Smith was the lone member of council to vote against the budget, saying that it didn’t represent :good long-term planning.”

“Cost of living (increase) would be much more realistic,” he said.

Not surprisingly, his colleagues did not agree.

“I’m very proud of this budget…taxpayers are getting a teeny bit of a break this year,” said Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell.

“It’s time to give Brock residents a little bit of a breather,” added Ward 1 Councillor Mike Jubb, who also noted that council doubled the budget for brushing and ditching along rural roads.

The 2019 budget was approved in principle with no tax increase following three full days of deliberations after council concluded its review of the capital budget on Feb, 4. 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.

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.

The capital budget also includes:

– $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.

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