| Feb 02, 2006


Feature Article - February 2, 2006

Feature Article

February 2, 2006

North Frontenac Council approves fire hall plans

by Jeff Green

At their meeting last week, North Frontenac Council looked carefully at drawings for a new four-bay fire hall, to be located at the township office site between Ardoch and Plevna. They set out a request for proposal seeking a contractor to come up with a price for building the fire hall this spring.

This is not the first request for proposal for the Clar-Mill fire hall. A year ago council came very close to accepting a proposal to build the hall in the village of Plevna, but backed down at the last minute. This time, however, it is more likely the project will proceed. Mayor Maguire has said that it is imperative that council complete the fire hall before municipal elections this coming fall, and at the presentation last week, none of the councillors expressed reservations about the site or the plans.

The only remaining question will be the price of construction.

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Council allocated $125,000 towards fire hall construction in 2005, and that money is still available. The Clar-Mill Fire Ladies have also committed $100,000 from their fundraising efforts over the years.

The plans call for a 66’ by 66’ foot building with four 14’ garage doors. An upper level is included in the plans. The building includes secure space for equipment, men’s and women’s washrooms and showers, two offices, and a large multi-purpose room. There will be a total of 5400 square feet of space in the building.

Bids on the building contract will be opened on February 20, and council expects the building to be completed by June 1.

The construction contract does not include painting, or any furniture in the building. The gaps are expected to be filled in by donations and volunteer labour.

Other items from Council

Community Halls Task Force final reportAnother longstanding initiative of North Frontenac Council seems to be nearing completion. Councillor Bud Clayton, chair of the task force considering how the township will manage the five community halls in the township, submitted his report.

Last June, council agreed to two principles: that the municipality provide a meeting place for the community, and that a committee that is responsible to the township manage each community hall.

The final report calls for the establishment of management groups for each hall, and says that these management groups will be “responsible for the general maintenance of each hall building, including telephone, heating, cleaning, equipment, kitchen, painting, minor repairs, hall rentals, etc.”

The municipality will be responsible for the exterior of the building, hydro, heat, insurance, etc.”

The township’s Chief Administrative Officer/Treasurer will handle all revenues and the vast majority of expenses for the halls.

At this point, it is unknown how much it will cost the township to maintain the halls in this manner, and the management plan is proposed on a “trial and error basis for an initial one year period” according to the report.

Council accepted the report and will institute the new management plan on May 1.

Assessment information Council received information from Treasurer Cheryl Robson concerning the budgetary implications of the large assessment increase, about 24%, that was determined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation for properties in North Frontenac. The total assessment increase in the township comes to almost $89 million, raising the total assessment for all properties in the township to a shade under $450 million.

For comparison purposes, Cheryl Robson applied the tax rate from 2005 to the assessment information for 2006. If Council maintains the same tax rate for 2006, the township will have $684,815 more to spend in 2006 than they had in 2005. Similarly, if the County of Frontenac retains the same tax rate as last year, they will receive $290,434 more from North Frontenac taxpayers. If the education rate remains the same as 2005, the ratepayers in North Frontenac will send an extra $287,495 to the province for education.

While North Frontenac Council may have plans for the extra money they could receive by maintaining the same the tax rate as last year, they will be pressured by ratepayers, specifically waterfront ratepayers groups, to lower the tax rate in the face of this unprecedented assessment increase.

In 2005, the total tax rate in North Frontenac was $1,406.53 for every $100,000 of property assessment. By comparison, the tax rate in Central Frontenac for 2005 was $1,513.06. For 2005, in the City of Toronto the rate was $906.74; the rate in Pickering was $1,380.54; and rates in different parts of Kingston ranged from $1,446 to $1,617.

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