| Jul 06, 2006

Feature Article - July 6, 2006

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Feature Article - July 6, 2006

Better late than a high rate -- North Frontenac approves 2006 budget

by JeffGreen

The North Frontenac Township Council approved their 2006 budget last week, one day before the mid-point of the year, but township ratepayers will be pleased to know that the township has kept their levy increase to 3%, roughly the rate of inflation.

In response to an unprecedented increase in property assessments in the township (the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation informed the township that assessments rose by an average of almost 22% in North Frontenac for 2006), council decided to lower the tax rate.

In a report to council that accompanied the budget bylaw, Township Treasurer/CAO Cheryl Robson wrote, “Council felt that the Township of North Frontenac should decrease the tax rate to recognise the increase in assessment, but still allow for a 3% increase in Municipal Dollars to be collected”. The report said the increase is needed to cover rising fuel, insurance and utility costs.


The impact of this budget on individual ratepayers will vary widely, depending on their latest property assessment.

For example, the owner of a residential property that had been assessed at $100,000 for 2005 taxes and did not have its assessment altered this year, will see a healthy tax decrease of $215 this year, from $1,406 in 2005 to $1191 in 2006.

However, a property that had been assessed at $100,000 for 2005 taxes but had its assessment increased by the township average of 22%, to $122,000, will see its taxes go from $1406 in 2005 to $1453 in 2006.

The township has been under pressure, mainly from waterfront ratepayers’ groups such as the Mazinaw Lake Property Owners’ Association, to show restraint in the face of large property assessment increases on waterfront properties. However, no amount of restraint on the part of municipal politicians will reverse the trend towards an increasing tax burden on waterfront ratepayers as compared to everyone else.

In 2006, North Frontenac will carry out road work on Gull Lake Road , Robertsville Road , Myers Cave Road , Boundary Road , Shabomeka Lake Road , River road, Whites Road , Sand Lake Road , and Cruise Road .

Other highlights from the budget include $113,000 to complete the Clar/Mill fire hall project. A used tanker truck will be purchased for the Plevna station as well, replacing a tanker that was built in 1971. The roads department will be getting a new backhoe, and the purchase of an excavator and hammer will be completed. Monies were also set aside for capping the former dump at Ompah, and for the closure of the Cloyne dump, and each of the five community halls has been allocated $5,000.

Infrastructure money that the township is receiving from the province through the MOVE Ontario grant is being placed in a roads reserve fund.

“I must say that this is a splendid document, it is very thorough and well put together,” said Mayor Ron Maguire of the budget document.

Still, not all councillors voted to support the budget. Although he did not request a recorded vote, Councillor Bud Clayton refrained from voting on the budget bylaw.

“I had some difficulty with parts of the budget, particularly using money from the sale of shoreline road allowances to subsidise the township’s Crown Land Stewardship program. I don’t think that is right; those monies should go for recreation, not to subsidise a program like that,” Clayton said when contacted by the News.

“I also disagree with the practice of including large capital purchases in a budget process rather than bringing them up for council consideration on their own. In this budget there are purchases of a backhoe and a fire truck. These should have been brought forward by the department heads in an administrative report and we could have discussed them on their own merits. When we are doing our budget there is too much to get through to give these items the attention they deserve.”

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