Jul 24, 2019

The next phase in what might be called a little misunderstanding between municipal partners, will play out at a city council meeting in Kingston in September.

According to a city official, when Frontenac County Officials brought budget numbers that included a 14.4% increase in the municipal levy for Frontenac Paramedic Services (FPS), and an 8.7% increase in the levy for Fairmount Home, the city council did not accept those numbers and inserted a 5% increase into the City budget that they subsequently approved.

Later, when Frontenac County approved its own budget, with the 14.4% and 8.7% increases in tact, it created a shortfall in the Kingston budget. In a committee meeting attended by Kingston and Frontenac County politicians that was held on June 26, the City’s position was that it was willing to use reserve funds to pay for a 7.7% increase in the levy for FPS and a 6.9% increase in the Fairmount Home levy, but asked the county to cover the rest. This would require the County of Frontenac to revisit its 2019 budget.

A motion to re-open the 2019 budget was forwarded from the committee to the July Frontenac County Council meeting. The motion never got on the floor because none of the Frontenac County Council members saw fit to second it.

The matter will now go to Kingston City Council.

Amber Bryant-Peller, special assistant to Mayor Bryan Paterson, said that City Council will consider the budgetary implications of the Frontenac County decision to stick with the 14.4% and 8.7% increases when they meet in September.

When asked if the council will be considering seeking arbitration or perhaps a court remedy in the matter, she deferred.

“All I am saying is that they will consider the implications of increases that fall outside of the projections that were used to prepare the City budget” she said, after conferring with Mayor Paterson.

She said that Mayor Paterson had not indicated what action he will recommend that city council take in light of the county’s decision to stick with the increases.

In the minutes to the June 26 meeting, however, there is an indication of Mayor Paterson’s intent.

“In the absence of reconsideration by the county, the mayor indicated the city is prepared to go to court if the levy to the city is not reduced” the minutes say.

The county’s position, as stated by Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender, again from the June 26 meeting’s minutes, is that the funding arrangements for both services can indeed be taken to arbitration.

“However, the arbitrator only has jurisdiction over the apportionment formula aspect of the agreement,” said Pender.

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