Jeff Green | Dec 10, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - December 10, 2009 Addington Highlands Council - Dec 7/09By Jeff Green
Flinton rink roof in doubt
Addington Highlands Council might consider the old adage – “Be careful what you wish for because your wish might come true”.
Back in the spring when federal/provincial stimulus grant application deadlines were approaching, municipalities throughout Ontario sent in thousands of applications that fit the granting criteria. Based on how previous granting programs had played out, the expectation was that even if a municipality applied for six or seven grants, they would receive one, or two at the most.
This time was different, and particularly in the Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington Riding, the bulk of applications received 2/3 funding from the federal and provincial governments.
This news was welcome in most cases, but since municipalities must pay the remaining 1/3 of the cost, the stimulus grants threaten the 2010 municipal budgets.
One of the successful applications from Addington Highlands was for a $372,000 coverall for the Flinton ice rink, which is adjacent to the Flinton Recreation Centre. The senior levels of government are willing to pay $248,000 towards the project.
In an unusual arrangement, the Flinton Recreation Committee handles much of the maintenance on the grounds around the hall, even though the property is a township asset.
This arrangement extends to the coverall project, which was something the recreation committee was behind.
So, now that the township has to come up with $124,000 to cover 1/3 of the cost of the roof over the rink, Clerk/Treasurer Jack Pauhl wrote to the recreation committee asking them to come to a council meeting to let the township know how much they are willing to contribute towards the project.
The committee wrote back that they can cover half, $62,000, and came to the meeting asking the township to cover the remaining $62,000.
But Township Reeve Henry Hogg poured cold water on that suggestion, putting the entire project in doubt.
“We don’t have that kind of money,” he said. “We just don’t have it, that’s all.”
He then asked Duane Thibault, spokesperson for the six-member Rec. Committee delegation, if they might consider applying for a Trillium grant for the roof.
“We don't have time,” Thibault said, “the project has to be completed next year.”
Hogg said that the project is not in the township budget.
“Are you going to be budgeting for it next year?” Thibault asked Hogg.
“That would be a 1 to 2 per cent increase [in taxes], just to do this,” Hogg said.
“Let me get this straight,” said Deputy Reeve Helen Yanch, “the Flinton Rec. Club is willing to cover half of the township share. Isn't there something we can work out, so every year they can pay a certain amount towards the rest?”
“We've already put a lot of money towards this township,” Duane Thibault said.
“We applied for the grant on behalf of the rec. committee,” Henry Hogg replied, “we never committed any of the money.”
Duane Thibault pointed out that if the township doesn't make use of the funding they will “never see that kind of money again.” Thibault then asked if there was any way the township could lend the Rec. Committee the money so it can be raised over time and paid back.
“We don't really have money available,” said Treasurer Jack Pauhl, “our reserves are mostly what are called un-funded reserves; they are partially made up of back taxes.”
“We'll have to do some brainstorming,” Henry Hogg said, “I don't know what council thinks, but I don't think we can make a decision today.”
After leaving the meeting, the rec. committee members said they really need to know something pretty soon, because the construction schedule they have been working with includes a $3,000 payment in January, and a $75,000 payment early next spring.
OTHER NOTES FROM AH COUNCIL:
Work has begun on the Matawatchan Road reconstruction project, and the tender for the Denbigh garage project will be opened on December 17. This is the second time the Denbigh garage project has gone to tender. The first time the bids were double the amount budgeted for the project. “Let's hope the bids are lower this time,” said Roads Superintendent Royce Rosenblath.
CHRISTMAS CLOSING: Staff requested, and council agreed, to close the township office on Thursday December 24, and reopen on Monday, December 28.
CONSERVATION AUTHORITY BUDGET – Councilor Eythel Grant reported that the Quinte Region Conservation Authority would not be looking to the municipality for more money next year for its operating budget. “But there will be an $1,800 increase to cover the pension plan that was approved last year,” he quickly added.