Jeff Green | Jul 24, 2019
Frontenac County received $1.534 million this past spring in one-time transfers from the Province of Ontario.
"Taxpayers need their local government to deliver modern, efficient services that show respect for their hard-earned dollars. This funding will help small and rural municipalities improve how they deliver services and reduce the ongoing costs of providing those services," said Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark when Municipal Modernisation Fund (MMF) was announced on March 20.
$725,000 came to Frontenac County from MMF, in addition to $809,000 in one-time gas tax funding, to make up the $1.534 million total.
In a report to Council, Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender and Treasurer Susan Brant pointed out that council had already made a $2 million (estimated) commitment to extend the K&P trail north from of Sharbot to the Lanark County border. They proposed allocating all of the one-time gas tax money to that project.
The trail is to be constructed to the same recreational standards as the section of trail between Kingston and Sharbot Lake. The $2 million also covers trailheads in each of the 4 Frontenac townships at a cost of $100,000 each, as well as money for signage and marketing.
In 2018, Council provided staff with the authority to borrow up to $250,000 towards the new section, and covering loan payments could result in a 0.6% increase in county taxes, according to the report.
The new money is not being used for the completion of the trail between Tichborne and Sharbot Lake, which is slated for this fall with funding that has already been allocated.
Kelly Pender said that by using the grant dollars to reduce the need to borrow for a project that is already in the works, the need to use municipal taxation for the new trail section will be lessened. The county will continue to seek grant money for construction of the trail.
The largest expenditure under the $725,000 MMF is $250,000 towards the Frontenac County commitment to help fund the Eastern Ontario cell-gap coverage project, which is being co-sponsored by the federal and provincial governments as well as private investors.
The County has already made a commitment to provide $400,000, its share of what is, in total, and $299 million-dollar project aimed at improved cell phone and Internet service in Eastern Ontario, including bringing service to more remote corners of the region. The $250,000 will lessen the burden on county reserve funds for the project, reserve funds that need to be replenished each year with municipal tax dollars.
Other projects that are in line to be funded from the MMF include the following: 1. Long-term care review - $70,000, 2. Communications/Engagement Tool - $25,000. 3. Regional Roads Needs Update - $40,000, 4. Scheduling Software - $40,000, 5 - Continuous Improvement/Planning Intern - $90,000, 6. Administration Facility Architectural - $100,000, 7. Communal Services Implementation - $50,000, 8. Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan Energy Initiatives - $30,000, 9. EOWC – Eastern Ontario Initiatives - $25,000, 10. Municipal 5-1-1 - $5,000
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