| Apr 17, 2008

Feature Article - April 17, 2008

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Feature Article -April 17, 2008 North Frontenac Budget ApprovedBy Jeff GreenNorth Frontenac Council began considering this year’s budget last December, but it took four months of deliberations before it was finally passed at a meeting in Cloyne on April 10.

Taxes for township-delivered services are up by 5.4% over 2007, but the overall tax rate was kept to a more modest increase of 3.61% thanks to a decrease in the Frontenac County tax. (County taxes account for 21% of the total tax bill, education taxes another 21% and township taxes 57%). A house that is assessed at $150,000, for example, will pay $1930 in municipal taxes in 2008, $66 more than last year.

Major pressure on this year’s budget came from repaving requirements on the township’s major road system, Road 506/509. These roads were downloaded to the township by the Province of Ontario 10 years ago, and the province provided money for an annual repaving program at the time. This money has run out and North Frontenac ratepayers are left with a $350,000 annual cost. An infrastructure grant, announced in March, is being used this year to cover that cost, and this cut the tax increase considerably.

Other projects that are planned in North Frontenac this year include rehabilitation on the Ardoch Road, as well as 2 km of paving; 1 km paving on Shabomeka Road; rehabiliation and 1 km paving on River Road; rehabilitation on Whites Road; 1.2 km paving on Arcol Road; 1 km paving on Smith Road; rehabiliation of pavement on Harlowe Road; as well as 10 km of paving on 506/509.

$400,000 will be spent to cover provincial requirements at the township’s waste sites, including monies for closure plans on sites that are no longer in operation.

$50,000 has been set aside for a proposed Ompah fire hall, and $35,000 has been set aside towards a porposed addition to the Barrie Fire Hall.

The township will be spending $12,000 this spring to deal with issues at the Clarendon Miller Hall in Plevna in the hopes of making it suitable for library use. Those problems had forced the library to close.

Purchases of seven pick-up trucks, new computers and a photocopier are also included in the budget.

“A lot of people might see headlines or a letter from the mayor talking about what is being worked on, and they don't realise that all decisions are looked at collectively. A lot of people get downright mad at us, but they don’t know what we are dealing with,” said Mayor Maguire in his remarks accompanying the final budget presentation.

“We went through this carefully, and many costs are things we have no choice on. Other things, like buying pickup trucks, were done becaue we were alrealy paying too high mileage and we had trucks that were no longer economical to repair,” said Deputy Mayor Jim Beam.

The mayor opened the meeting up for public comment, and there were seveal technical questions asked, none of which challenged the basic thrust of the budget.

Wayne Southward, from Ompah, sought clarification on spending regarding the Ompah fire department. $240,000 will be rasied over 5 years for a pumper, and with an addition of $50,000 there is now $100,000 in reserves towards a new fire hall.

A bylaw accepting the budget estimates and setting the 2008 tax rate was approved unanimously by council.

While the tax rate is higher in North Frontenac this year, over the past six years it has actually dropped a fair bit.

The owner of a house valued at $150,000 would have paid $2208 in municipal taxes back in 2002, compared to $1930 this year.

NF Frontenac awards truck tender

The tender for the supply of 7 pickup trucks of various sizes to has been awarded to Bence Motors of Kaladar, for a total price of $287,444.88.

The trucks will be financed over 4 years, but instead of borrowing money from a bank, or taking advantage of corporate financing options, the township will be borrowing from its own reserve funds and paying those funds back over a four-year period.

Included in the tender were three 4-wheel drive two-ton trucks with plow and dump body for the roads department; one ton 4-wheel drive truck for the public works manager; and 3 sub-compact trucks to be used by the chief building official, the recreation/economic development coordinator and the fire chief.

The decision to purchase the trucks came about in January as part of the 2008 budget deliberations. The three employees who will be using the sub-compact have been using their own vehicles up until now and have been paid mileage, and the cost of the three trucks being assigned to the roads department is intended to be offset by a decrease in the amount of road maintenance that is contracted out.

The township received bids from 5 dealers in response to the tender, and one of them was about $1,000 lower than the Bence Motors bid, However the specifications for the trucks were quite detailed.

“Only Bence Motors met all the specs, even if they were a bit higher,” said Mayor Ron Maguire as council considered who to award the tender to.

“This is simple. Only one company met all the specs. Tender goes to Bence,” said Deputy Mayor Jim Beam.

“I think this is great,” said Councilor Wayne Cole, “It’s great for the community and great for Bence”.

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