| Apr 02, 2009

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

Budget crunch

In December of last year, Central Frontenac Council instructed their staff to try and bring in a budget with a 0% increase in the amount of money they will be levying from ratepayers in the township.

Three months later the numbers are in, and they are a long way from 0. As Council began meeting with department heads this week to go over their budget requests, there was an increase of $853,000, or 20%, in the proposed township levy for 2009.

The budget includes a net $176,500 draw from township reserve funds, which stand at $3 million. It also includes only a limited amount of road improvement. About $250,000 is allocated to widening, ditching, and culvert replacement on the Hungry Lake, Second Lake, Ducharme and Armstrong Roads. There is no road paving in the 2009 budget.

A major portion of the budget increase, about $500,000, comes from reorganizing the Public Works department, in line with the recommendations from an organizational review of the township’s operations that was presented early last year.

At the first budget session on Monday March 30, Mayor Janet Gutowski said that a new staffing structure and some new equipment will “put the township in a stronger position to do our own road work in future years”.

Councilors had several concerns with the public works budget as presented, and spent about an hour asking questions of works manager John Simcock.

Of particular concern was the cost of winter maintenance, which was budgeted at $200,000 in 2008/2009 and ballooned to almost $500,000.

“I wasn't here when the $200,000 budget was set,” said Simcock, who also pointed out that the township did not have sufficient sand going into the 2008/2009 winter season, and now has a surplus of sand to be ready for next winter.

“So, we will save money on sand next year?” asked Councilor Philip Smith.

“Yes” said Simcock.

Council is meeting again this week to go over the budget with department heads and will meet again on Monday, April 6, to consider amendments to the staff requests.

The impact of the 2009 budget on ratepayers will vary according to the change in property assessment that was sent to each taxpayer in November of last year. The average property in Central Frontenac had an assessment increase of 40%. Those with an assessment increase of over 40% will end up paying a larger share of the increase to the township budget. 

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