South Frontenac Council approved a 2019 budget of $19,741,688 at its regular meeting Tuesday night in Sydenham.
This represents a 3.199 per cent increase over 2018’s budget of $19,129,719, however, it falls in line with Council’s direction of a 2.0 per cent impact on the average phased-in property when increased property values are factored in.
The $19,741,688 is the same figure presented at the Jan. 26 meeting, however, at that time, Council wanted to add in a New Leaf Link grant of $2,000, a museum grant of $3,00, $20,000 in community grants and $20,000 for additional brushing.
In order to maintain the Jan. 26 figure, Treasurer Louise Fragnito reduced the ‘miscellaneous figure by $5,000 and firefighter recruitment financing by $40,000.
“Through the budget discussions, Council added $20,000 for additional community grants and $20,000 for additional contracted brushing and staff was asked for alternatives for funding these two initiatives,” Fragnito’s report said. “Typically, operating budget items are not funded from reserves, unless as a one-time adjustment, as they create a future year impact to the tax levy.
“(This adjustment) switches the Capital — Firefighter recruitment financing by increasing the funding from working funds by $40,000 and reducing the tax levy by $40,000, which provides the capacity to offset the $40,000 and reducing the tax levy by $40,000, which provides the capacity to offset the $40,000 increase in the operating budget and keeping the tax impact to 2.0 per cent.”
CAO Wayne Orr said staff will bring back a tax bylaw once the levies from Frontenac County and the Province (for education) are known, probably some time in April.
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Before the regular meeting, Council held an in camera session to discuss the potential acquisition (or disposition) of land by the municipality (or local board): potential land purchase for seniors housing.
In a report prepared for the three new members of Council to bring them up to speed, CAO Wayne Orr summarized what’s happened up to this point, including the potential involvement of Kingston and Frontenac Housing Corporation, financing and mortgage models as well as potential sites. Orr’s reports were part of the regular meeting agenda package for Tuesday night’s meeting.
“Initially, discussion focused on establishing a project in Sydenham, Verona or Inverary as these communities had a number of services to offer within walking distance,” the report said. “In the early stages, a partnership with South Frontenac Community Services for a project at the Grace site was explored.
“Just recently, SFCS has indicated that they have been in discussion with a private developer who may have interest in reopening the discussions on a project at the Grace site as a Private Public Partnership (and) this has not been explored at this point.”
The report also included this statement: “The CAO work plan for the remaining six months of employment does not include significant time allocation for this initiative (Orr has announced his retirement plans).”
It should be noted that of the three settlement areas mentioned, Sydenham, Verona and Inverary, only Sydenham has a municipal water system.
Council wouldn’t disclose any more information but Mayor Ron Vandewal did say to Orr “you have direction.”
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Council was shown a video provided by Meela Melnik-Proud and shot by Matt Rennie on a walking bridge constructed at the proposed Johnston Point condominium development on Loughborough Lake.
“At the April 2016 Ontario Municipal Board hearing, we brought forward specific concerns over this walking bridge that is directly in Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW),” Melnik-Proud said. “It was our understanding that this bridge technically would not constitute development in the PSW, since it would be free standing, and furthermore, that all vegetation within 30 metres of the shoreline would be maintained in a natural state.”
The video shows several support posts in the PSW and removal of vegetation, including stumps suggesting removal of trees greater than 4 inches in diameter.
Mayor Ron Vandewal promised “either our staff will find an answer for this or we’ll forward it to (Frontenac) County.”
CAO Wayne Orr said: “At this time, we do not have a signed condominium agreement. We expect one in June.”
He said that until the condo agreement is signed, they have no mandate to go in and enforce a site-plan agreement and any conditions that it might include.
“It’s private property at this point,” Orr said. “But he has to meet certain conditions before it becomes condominiums and without meeting those conditions, he (the developer) has no units to sell.
“Our ability to put restrictions on comes when there’s a request to change (a property).”
“People wouldn’t like it, but I could clear cut my farm and put 500 wells on it if I chose,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “But if I apply for something, everything changes.”
Director of Developmental Services, Claire Dodds, said the developer did have a permit from the conservation authority to build the walking bridge.
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Council directed staff to look into declaring two firehall properties surplus and to report back.
The properties in question are the Burnt Hills station and the old Perth Road Station.
“If Council decides to sell, Burnt Hills would have to be as is,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “It’s like half an acre and I wouldn’t like to see a house go on it.
“There is a structure there but it could only be used as a storage shed for a neighbour or something.”
“I’m guessing it’s not zoned residential although Perth Road is,” said CAO Wayne Orr.
“We don’t necessarily have to rush ahead,” said Coun. Alan Revill. “We could declare them surplus for the fire department to make plans and decide what to do with them later.”
Council directed staff to come back with recommendations.