| Mar 29, 2007

Feature Article - March 29, 2007

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Feature Article - March 29, 2007

Central Frontenac tax increase at 4% and countingby Jeff Green

At their first kick at the budget can, Central Frontenac Council sent staff back to look for $100,000 in savings.

By deferring the building of a planned salt containment unit for a year, and fine tuning some other budget numbers, staff came to the 2nd budget meeting with $132,740 in savings. This would have resulted in an increase in local taxation of 2.3% in 2007. Coupled with the Frontenac County and education budgets, it would have resulted in an overall increase to taxpayers of 1.7%.

Council then began spending some of those savings.

The first issue to come up was a longstanding road construction issue that has been brought forward year after year by Deputy Mayor Bill Snyder - the reconstruction of a section of the Oak Flats Road, which has been estimated as a $115,000 project.


Staff had made changes to the roads construction budget that had been presented to council one week earlier, based upon recommendations from Public Works Manager Bill Nicol (who returned from an extended leave last week. Nicol also submitted his resignation, effective March 30). Based on Nicol’s understanding of the road requirements in the township, some budget numbers were changed, and two projects, one on Elm Tee Road and one on McLean Road, were removed from the list for 2007, but the Oak Flats Road project was still not included in the list of budgeted items.

“I’m trying to stay calm here,” Bill Snyder said, “I still have problems with this list. How do these roads even get picked? I think it’s evil that the Oak Flats Road, which was started before amalgamation occurred, and was almost approved even before the budget started, is still not on the list. I’m really sick of this.”

“That was because staff brought forward recommendations based on technical information. This is the opportunity for council to change this list, if that’s what they want,” said Mayor Janet Gutowski.

Gutowski then forwarded a suggestion that proposed repairs on two other roads, Eagle Lake Road and White Lake Road be deferred for another year, freeing up $93,300 in total.

Council agreed to this, and the Oak Flats Road project was added to the budget.

Kennebec Councillor Gary Smith then piped in concerning the Elm Tree Road, which he said is badly in need of repair and should be included in the list of projects for 2007.

In the end the $46,100 proposed for the Elm Tree road was included in the draft budget, and savings will be sought in other parts of the budget.

In total, the tinkering with the roads budget led to an increase of $67,800 from the numbers staff had brought forward at the beginning of the meeting.

This meant that if the budget were passed with no further changes, the local tax rate would be up 4% and the overall rate 2.7%.

A discussion concerning the waste management budget led to no changes.

Council will be meeting again on Tuesday, April 3rd, at 5 pm to continue their budget deliberations. Fire Chief Mark MacDonald will be on hand to discuss the fire budget.

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