| Apr 02, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - April 2, 2009 north Frontenac CouncilBy Jeff Green

Frontenac County governance report

At their council meeting on March 26 last week, they considered a recommendation by the Armstrong group that the county be overseen by a seven-member council, with a proposal of their own.

They passed a resolution calling for a 13-member council, to be made up of the mayors of the four constituent townships, plus another member of each council to be appointed for a four-year term. In addition to these eight people, the resolution calls for three directly elected members from the southern ward of the county and two from the northern ward.

The proposed wards were a part of the Armstrong report. The southern ward includes Frontenac Islands, South Frontenac, and Hinchinbrooke District of Central Frontenac. The northern ward includes the remaining three districts of Central Frontenac as well as North Frontenac township.

The North Frontenac proposal also calls for the county warden to be elected for four years by a vote of the 13-member council, and the warden must be a member of one of the constituents’ councils.

The proposal has been circulated to the other townships, and Mayor Maguire told the News it has already received an enthusiastic response from current County Warden Janet Gutowski from Central Frontenac.

“She sent back an email saying she liked the proposal and she was glad to have something on the table when the county looks at this,” Maguire told the News.

Any change to the makeup of county council must be approved this year in advance of municipal elections in November of 2010.

Council cuts local levy increase from 16% to 6% after all-day session

North Frontenac Council is set to finalise their 2009 budget at the council meeting next Thursday, April 9, and they will have a few different scenarios to look at.

At their final major budget session last week they cut over $450,000 from the amount the township will have to raise from taxpayers by over $450,000, bringing the increase from $660,000 to just over $200,000.

The cuts came from all departments, including a planned $50,000 contribution to a building fund for a new Ompah fire hall (cut to $25,000) and a reduction in the budget for improvements on River Road by almost $50,000. A planned paving program has been reduced to ditching and widening.

Other cuts include a major reduction in the monies allocated to repairs at the Ompah and Clar-Mill halls, from $135,000 to just $10,000. No one managed to avoid council's attention, however; even a proposed grant to the Cloyne & District Historical Society to support the 150th anniversary celebrations for the Village of Cloyne has been cut in half, from $2,000 to $1,000.

When council meets to finalise their budget next week, they will be looking at the impact of the 2009 budget on council reserve funds. Treasurer Cheryl Robson will provide information on how much money the township has in its various reserve funds, and will be presenting budgetary scenarios that include an increase of $50,000 and $100,000 to the funds.

She will also present a scenario that includes the purchase of a trash compactor, a float trailer, and an operator, which would cost $93,000. The budget currently has devoted $10,000 to renting a compactor on two or three occasions this year.

The impact of the budget increase will vary among ratepayers, because 2008 was an assessment year. As usual waterfront dwellers received larger assessment increases than the average ratepayer, they will be faced with a larger tax increase.

A public meeting on the budget is scheduled for 1:00 at the Clar-Mill Fire Hall mezzanine on April 9.

Ambulance base proposal – In response to another Frontenac County consultant’s report, North Frontenac Council has responded with a proposal that the current ambulance base, located at Lavant Road and Hwy. 509, could be combined with a proposed Ompah fire hall, for which the township has already purchased property in the village of Ompah. 

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