South Frontenac Council approved and adopted its 2018 budget at its regular meeting Tuesday night in Sydenham.
The Township will be collecting from $19,129,719, 2.92% more than the $18,586,507 it collected in 2017.
However, the Treasury department met the target set for them by Council. That target is based on a hypothetical average property value in the township, which would be worth $256,000 in 2017. That average property, which would have gone in assessed value up by $4,000 in 2017, would see an increase of 2% in township taxes, a little over $30.
This is just for the township. portion of the tax bill, which also includes Frontenac County taxes and School Board taxes. The final budget will not be approved until April, but with the township budget approcval this week, staff has a budget to work under from the start of the year on January 1st.
The biggest item in the budget is roadway maintenance at over $13 million followed by fire protection at over $3 million, policing at over $3 million and solid waste management at $2,7 million.
The lone dissenting vote against the budget came from Coun. Ross Sutherland.
“The proposed budget should not be supported because it is a budget of missed opportunities,” Sutherland said. “It fails to move forward on community development and engagement, it is not expanding resources to combat invasive species and climate change and it has fallen back on making important policy through back room compromises rather than publicly accountable debate.”
However, Mayor Ron Vandewal seemed quite pleased with the budget and praised staff.
“I’ve been through lots of budgets and they’re never fun,” Vandewal said. “Like that recent one at County.
“But staff bent over backwards and brought us a budget at 2 per cent like we asked for.”
Fermoy Hall, a “charming little building” - Barbeau
Coun. Brad Barbeau had served notice of motion that Council not proceed with any work on Fermoy Hall regardless of the funding source until the Heritage Committee met and made recommendations to Council.
But after touring the hall, Barbeau said he had a change of heart and withdrew his motion.
“I went to see Fermoy Hall and it’s a charming little building,” Barbeau said. “The Heritage Committee will be meeting in January and we’ll be discussing it.”
There is an allocation for work at the Hall in the 2018 budget and a note that a Trillium Grant has been applied for. There is a hold on the project pending the funding and direction from Council.
Inverary Lake zoning approved
Council passed a bylaw changing the zoning of a non-waterfront lot to be severed off a waterfront lot on Inverary Lake to Rural.
There had been opposition from the Inverary Lake Residents Association to the severance with concerns that this was only the first step towards a subdivision or plan of condominium development in the area and third reading of the bylaw was held up to address public concerns but Planner Lindsay Mills said this was the third and final lot to be severed from the original property.
“Do we know that this will come back as a condominium?” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “No we don’t.
“But if it does, there will be conditions.”
Johnston Point species at risk issues left to County
Council decided not to petition the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to deny a proposed benefit permit to a development on Johnston Lake as requested by the Battersea Loughborough Lake Association.
The Association contends that only two of six species at risk (Blanding’s turtle and grey rat snake) have been addressed and there are four more (including the eastern whip-poor-will and three species of bats) species that should be examined before allowing the development to proceed.
Several councilors felt that the matter was now before Frontenac County and the County should be the ones to make such comments to the Environmental Registry 013-1130.
Coun. Alan Revill said he believed the Township “should not be commenting” but did file notice of motion to contact the MNRF to come to Council to explain its procedures.
Coun. John McDougall said that since the matter was before the County “it would be inappropriate for us (as a Township) to comment.”
“But any councilor may comment as an individual just as any resident can,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal.
Only Coun. Ross Sutherland voted in favour of the Township commenting.