| Mar 20, 2019

When the dust cleared at the end of a long day in Plevna, North Frontenac Council did what they came to do last Friday — hammer out a budget that came in at a 2.8 per cent increase (consumer price index) over the amount to be raised by taxation over 2018. They started out the day looking at a 5.9 per cent increase.

The budget will now come forward in a public meeting before the regular Council meeting April 12 at 9 a.m. in Plevna.

“This shows we’re in control and able to meet a target,” said Coun. John Inglis.

“A lot of our residents are seniors on fixed incomes (so) we have to keep the increase at the cost of living,” said Coun. Vernon Hermer.

In total, North Frontenac will raise $6,011,535 in taxation for 2019. This represents an increase of $2.23 more per $100,000 of property assessment.

In the past year, North Frontenac experienced 0.5 per cent growth and a 2.0 per cent increase in MPAC property assessment.

Much of the budget focuses on the assets management plan and much of that is devoted to roads, gravel roads in particular.

Public works manager Darwyn Sproule told Council that he’d like to put more into asphalt but the recommendation from a consultant’s study of $100,000 per year just wasn’t feasible.

“We’re trying to maximize the number of kilometres we’re treating,” he said.

But that didn’t sit well with Coun. Wayne Good, who argued for more roads money and Mayor Ron Higgins came up with an albeit temporary solution for this year.

“The roads sustainability reserve is at $2 million,” Higgins said. “Take $100,000 from that this year and put in on roads and we’ll budget for it next year.”

They did, and it brought a smile to Sproule’s face as he said they’d have no problem getting some more resurfacing done this summer as it goes out to independent contractors anyways.

Sproule also got something else he asked for — a ‘thumb’ for the excavator.

“If you’ve ever chased a rock across a field, you’ll know why we need one,” he said. “They’re also useful for picking up loads of brush.”

“I have chased rocks across a field,” said Good. “They need this.”

Council also approved a jaws of life for Clarendon-Miller Firehall.

Signage warning about Eurasian milfoil for Malcolm and Ardoch Lakes was denied, as was streetlighting for community mailboxes.

However, Council did approve $3,125 for a volunteer appreciation dinner and $1,600 for volunteer appreciations vests.

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