Central Frontenac Council and staff met at the Oso Firehall Tuesday to have a second round of budget talks and while Treasurer Michael McGovern estimated they managed to cut about $10,000 out of the 2018 budget, it still looks like the Township plans to spend almost $348,000 more than it did in 2017, an increase of about 4.75 per cent.
On Tuesday, Council looked at the Fire, Public Works and Facilities budgets, with Corporate Services still to come.
There are still cuts likely to be made, for example, $7,500 for heat and $1,500 for electricity for the old library building in Mountain Grove.
In fact, Mayor Frances Smith told staff she wanted to see a report on all of the Township’s buildings within 60 days after Fire Chief Greg Robinson reported that the fire department has three buildings in Mountain Grove “one of which we use and two that we don’t.”
One of those buildings is used by the rec committee at the rink and Robinson said it could be used for fire equipment storage, which would make the old firehall in Parham surplus, meaning that property could be sold.
The former Hinchinbrooke Public School is expected to cost $8,000 but that could be considerably higher if the oil tank has to be removed.
In fact, several staff members suggested there were buildings and facilities that could be liquidated to reduce operating costs.
And there was some suggestion that even halls that are used are costing a lot. For example, Kennebec Hall brings in $3,000 in revenue but costs $20,000 to operate. Mountain Grove Hall costs $19,000 to operate while generating about $1,000 in revenue. Piccadilly Hall brings in $1,250 in revenue but only costs $8,500 to operate. Oso Hall (the busiest hall in the Township) is expected to cost $18,798 but brings in $5,500.
Coun. Phillip Smith cautioned that Council also has to look at ongoing commitments, using the proposed rink project in Sharbot Lake as an example.
“We’re worried about $5,000 for heating a hall but the ongoing costs for a refrigeration unit at a rink would be considerable,” Smith said.
Council instructed staff to go over the changes and recommendations already made and set Feb. 9 at 9:30 a.m. at the Oso Firehall for its next budget deliberations.