| Feb 10, 2011

Addington Highlands Council will not be combing though their 2011 budget for another month or more, but they are already facing an increase in the library budget of $27,000, an increase of over 100% over last year (from $24,800 to $51,800).

June Phillips, the CEO of the two branch library (Flinton and Denbigh) said that as a result of several factors, namely: the completion of a Trillium Foundation grant the library received two years ago; the end of the Community Access Portal (CAP) Internet program in its current form; and the end of a once a month Service Canada contract, the library is facing a loss of almost a 1/3 of its outside funding, putting more pressure on township ratepayers to cover the cost of keeping the doors open.

Phillips recommends cutting some hours, to 15 a week in the winter and 18 in the summer in Flinton, and 13 a week in the winter and 16 in the summer in Denbigh in order to cut the budget to about $70,000 a year from the $95,000 2010 budget.

The township library has had an electronic makeover over the last five years. Services are now fully automated and accessible through Addigtonhighlandspubliclibary.ca, which offers online access not only to the library’s internal resources but to the province-wide inter-library loan program, which delivers books and other materials from across the province free of charge to library users in about a week.

“The two libraries have high speed wireless service available for the public, which is used by township residents and visitors,” said June Phillips, “and I think the ending of the CAP program in a township that still has no high speed Internet access in many locations is a mistake. I hope they revamp it somehow.

“That's a huge drop in funding you are facing,” said Councilor Tony Fritsch.

“We expected this would happen some day,” answered June Phillips. “It's here now. This budget basically keeps us where we are at. If not we will have to move backwards.”

“You've been a miracle worker over the years,” said Councilor Bill Cox to Phillips, “we get a pretty good deal here compared to the amount of money spent on libraries in L&A County.”

Council will consider the library budget request when the township budget is considered in the early spring.

Looking forward, Phillips said that the library in Denbigh would grow drastically if it were moved to the new Community Centre with the Lakelands Family Health Team, which she said would be a vastly improved location.

AHEAD – Larry Pealow, the chair of the Addington Highlands Economic Advisory Development (AHEAD) Committee, made two requests of the township.

He presented council with copies of a Business and Services directory pamphlet that includes 100 businesses and organizations, and received approval to print 5,000 copies of the brochure at a cost of $700. They will be inserted in the interim tax bills and distributed in retail outlets as well.

Pealow also asked for $500 on behalf of the Land O'Lakes Garden Club to kick-start the purchase of plants for the planter box program this year.

At first council considered deferring the request to the budget, but Councilor Helen Yanch pointed out that if the money is needed to buy materials for transplanting, it will be needed before the budget is completed on May 1, so the expenditure was approved on the spot.

Other members of AHEAD, including Andy Anderson and Ken Hook, joined Larry Pealow in a meeting with council that took place after the regular meeting. They were seeking a stronger commitment from council to the committee, because members of council have not been attending AHEAD meetings in recent months.

Construction rebounds in 2010 – The building department reported that construction values were up by $1.47 million in 2010 over 2009. The 2010 total was $4.5 million, up from $3.1 million in 2009. Permit fees also rose in 2010, from $36,500 to $41,800.

Disappointment over Highway 7/41 intersection – “I can hardly believe that the 7 and 41 intersection does not need improvements,” said Tony Fritsch in response to a letter from the Ministry of Transportation that was forwarded to AH from North Frontenac Township. The letter included the following statement about the “long-term” improvement plan for the intersection: “The plan includes turning lanes, grade improvements, approach re-alignments, and future signalization capacities.” It has also identified “a realignment of the current intersection to the west of the existing intersection location. The improvements are not currently scheduled in the Southern Highways Program.”

The Ministry did not indicate if and when the improvements would be scheduled.

“I think they only look at traffic on Highway 7 through there, when there is more traffic going through there on Highway 41,” said Reeve Henry Hogg. “It's been frustrating dealing with them on this. It is a dangerous intersection that needs a stop light.”


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