| Mar 22, 2007

Feature Article - March 15, 2007

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Feature Article - March 15, 2007

CentralFrontenac budgetby Jeff Green

On March 19, Treasurer Judy Gray brought forward the first draft of the 2007 Central Frontenac budget estimates to the first of two scheduled budget sessions.

Based on staff projections of impending costs, including the cost of construction of a new fire hall in Mountain Grove, a Salt Containment unit, a bridge project on Cranberry Road, and $500,000 in road construction work, the draft budget saw an increase of 5.6% in the amount the township needs to raise from ratepayers. Luckily, a smaller increase (1.5%) in county taxes, and a freeze in the education tax rate would lead to an overall tax increase of 3.7% in the rate that Central Frontenac ratepayers would pay, or $46.50 for every $100,000 of property assessment, if the draft budget were implemented as presented.

After hearing an hour-long rundown of the numbers, Councilor Gary Smith said, “I’d like to suggest that we try to start off our term with a good message, by keeping any increases to the rate of inflation, at around 2.5%.”

Injunction _served

“I don’t know about percentages,” said Councilor Frances Smith, “but I note that we started off with about a $500,000 carry over in our operating budget from last year, and then have another $250,000 in expenditures listed on top of that. I think we should cut into that $250,000 increase.

Treasurer Judy Gray pointed out that a $100,000 decrease in the draft budget as presented would result in a 3.1% increase in the township tax rate, and total increase of only 2.2% in the municipal tax rate paid by Central Frontenac ratepayers.

Council liked that idea, passing a motion accepting the draft budget for information purposes, and asking staff to propose $100,000 in budget cuts before the next Monday’s follow up meeting. Staff department heads will be present next week to speak to the detail of their own budget proposals.

Deputy Mayor Bill Snyder spent much of the budget meeting biting his tongue. He had been hoping to discuss a proposal to repair a section of the Oak Flats Road that he has been trying to get done since the founding of the township over 9 years ago. A motion he brought forward that would have seen the repair (which has been estimated at over $100,000) included in the budget was narrowly defeated (5 votes to 4) a few weeks ago, and he was rebuffed in several attempts to bring the repair forward on Monday night because public works staff were not present.

The issue will certainly be brought forward by Snyder next week, but the council directive to staff to find budget cuts in the interim does not bode well for the possibility of the Oak Flats Road being upgraded in 2007.

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