| Apr 16, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - April 16, 2009

Notes on Municipal Budgets

Central Frontenac BudgetNorth Frontenac Budget

North Frontenac CouncilBy Jeff Green

Compactor expands NF budget

A last-minute decision to purchase a trash compactor in 2009 at the final North Frontenac budget meeting added $60,000 to the Township of North Frontenac’s budget, bringing the increase in township taxation to $265,000, or 7.7%.

After the final day-long budget session eight days earlier, council had tentatively adopted a budget with a $205,000 (6%) increase to the levy, and asked Treasurer Cheryl Robson to prepare two additional scenarios, one including an extra $50,000 in contributions to reserve funds, and another including $100,000 more to be put to reserves.

The next day, at a regular council meeting, the advantages of purchasing a heavy compactor, to be financed over three years (which will swell the 2009 budget by $60,000) was touted by the township’s waste management consultants, Aecom Engineering.

So, a third scenario was prepared, which does not include any additional contributions to reserves, but does include an extra $60,000 for the compactor. Ultimately, that final scenario was adopted, but not everyone on council was happy with the decision.

Councilor Wayne Good made reference to the report that was delivered by Guy Laporte of Aecom as he argued in favour of the expenditure. “Guy Laporte said we will add five years to the capacity of each site in the first year of compaction. This is in the long-term interest of the township”.

“The big thing that sticks in my mind is the cleanliness of the sites,” said Public Works Manager John Ibey. “By compacting through the winter we will not have debris everywhere in the spring”.

The township had originally planned to spend $10,000 in 2009 renting a compactor and using it in one or two sites, as a sort of pilot project.

“When we talked to Tackaberry, [a company that rents out compaction equipment], they said it would take a lot of work to do compaction here because it has never been done before,” said John Ibey.

Deputy Mayor Jim Beam had trouble reconciling the desire for a compactor with the budget increase that will be faced by ratepayers this year.

“We shouldn’t be saying more and more and more. I can’t even accept that it is going to cost this much more to run the township in 2009 than it did in 2008. I have a problem with the 6%. I cannot tolerate any increase to the 6% and I think that it is out of line to do so. We said it would cost $10,000 to see how it worked and we should stick with that”.

“I have to agree with Jim,” said Councilor Bob Olmstead.

“If I go fishing, I’d sooner fish from shore than go buy a big boat and get deep into the lake right away,” said Councilor Lonnie Watkins in explaining his opposition to buying the compactor.

“I think it’s a no-brainer,” said Mayor Ron Maguire. “Seven years ago we were informed that we have to put $750,000 away each year towards dump closures and through recycling we have turned that around. With this compactor we are going to solve the waste management problem in our township for our lifetime. I think $10,000 would be $10,000 thrown away if we are going to do this on an experimental basis”.

Members of the public who were in attendance at the public budget session had differing views on the compactor issue.

At the end of the public meeting, Mayor Maguire asked for a straw vote among members of council to see who supported the version of the budget that included the compactor and a $265,000 increase in the levy to ratepayers.

Councilors Olmstead and Watkins and Deputy Mayor Beam said they were opposed, while Councilors Good, Perry and, after some hesitation, Gunsinger said they supported it.

“There is a tie so I cast the deciding vote,” said Mayor Maguire. “I support the compactor.”

Treasurer Cheryl Robson had earlier outlined other spending changes that are also included in the budget.

There are some capital expenditures for the fire department in the budget, including a half-ton truck for the Barrie station, a new fire pumper, a four-wheel drive SUV and a wildfire half-ton for the Ompah station, and increases in the training and equipment replacement budgets.

A new helipad will be built on Hwy. 506.

In terms of road work, 10 kilometres on Roads 506/509 will receive single surface paving in line with an annual maintenance program. As well, the budget includes money for 3 km of single surface paving on Kashwakamak Lake Road, 1km double surface paving on Robertsville Road, paving and shouldering on Harlowe Road, rehabilitation and 2km single surface paving on Mountain Road, 2.7 km construction on Boundary Road, and ditching and gravelling on River, Head, Smith, and South Roads

On the waste management front, three hazardous waste depots will be set up this year, and an e-waste collection will be held this summer.

The township has also set money aside to turn a donated portable classroom into a temporary Plevna branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library at the old MNR building on Buckshot Lake Road. 

North Frontenac roundly rejects ambulance study

The latest chapter in North Frontenac Council’s ongoing enmity towards Frontenac County is being played out over ambulance service.

North Frontenac Council passed a harshly worded resolution last week (April 9). The resolution described the consultation process that preceded the report as “terribly flawed” in regards to residents of North Frontenac Township.

Currently ambulance service in North Frontenac is provided between 7:30 am and 7:30 pm from an ambulance station that is located at the township garage at Lavant Road and Road 509 (between Snow Road and Ompah). The ambulance is located out of doors, and must be kept running all day during the winter-time because of the equipment it contains.

The ambulance review of the Frontenac County Rural service, by the IBI consulting group from Toronto, recommended that the current North Frontenac base be closed and a new base be built at Ardoch Road and Road 509, which is close to Sharbot Lake and is at the northern edge of Central Frontenac Township. It also says that alternatively a heated garage could be built at the current location at Lavant Road.

The report also recommends that a new station be built in South Frontenac to house a 24-hour a day ambulance. It recommends maintaining the 24-hour station at Parham in its current location.

The North Frontenac Council resolution said that the report’s flaws include its exclusion of “the influx of seasonal residents and tourists to the northern end of the county from May to October.” It also says that a reduction in ambulance service would run counter to economic development plans in the township, and points out that most northern residents live at least one hour from a hospital, making the maintenance of existing service levels “gravely imperative”.

The North Frontenac resolution resolves by “respectfully requesting that the ambulance service be maintained and continue to be housed in its present location, with enhancements to the existing Lavant Station ambulance location to accommodate housing the ambulance inside year round and enhancing the present service to 24/7 coverage; or in the alternative that the County of Frontenac and the Township of North Frontenac enter into discussions to change the Lavant Station ambulance location to a combined ambulance fire/station in the village of Ompah”.

It also asks that the County of Frontenac not make any decisions about northern service until the ambulance service issue is resolved in neighboring Lennox and Addington County, which provides service to North Frontenac residents in the west and north-west regions of the township.

It also says that the province should “resume responsibility for the delivery of land ambulance services” because counties are inappropriate jurisdictions for ambulance service.

The IBI report was presented to a meeting of Frontenac County Council in March and was referred to the emergency services department for a staff report to be presented back to council at a later date.

“The report is only the beginning of the process” said Emergency Services Manager Paul Charbonneau at the time. 

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.