MV Council in Committee (CiC) held an all-day Finance and Administration meeting on February 7 to discuss priorities and goals, and guide staff for budget purposes. Municipal staff provided Council with the capital requests, departmental considerations, and overall budget changes or impacts from provincial agencies.
Acting Treasurer Amanda Hudder presented each department’s items, pointing out that it was not a budget presentation as such but rather an opportunity to gain clarity before preparing a draft budget. Each department head was on hand to respond to Council’s questions.
Council confirmed that, based on MPAC figures, the municipal tax base has increased by 2 percent. Given this and Canada’s GDP growth of 2 percent, Council anticipates a potential tax uplift in the range of 2 to 2.5 percent. All members of Council felt this was appropriate.
External financial impacts include:
- Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) is expected to be lower by 15 to 25 percent.
- Receipt of Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) for Old Barry’s Bay Road means that after 2019 MV must wait at least one year before it is eligible to apply for OCIF again.
- It was also noted that the Federal Gas Tax Rebate will be 9 percent less than last year.
Some other items considered were:
These were abolished by the previous Council with effect from January 1, 2018. (Click HERE to read The Current’s article Jan. 29, 2018) Hudder and CAO Sue Klatt suggested that Council consider reinstituting them. Hudder pointed out that the previous charge was only based on water and wastewater expenditures and did not include stresses from development on any other municipal services. Klatt also questioned limiting the charge solely to water and wastewater, pointing out that the 2 percent growth and 28 new homes in MV was a factor to take into account. She proposed an expert assess the potential for Council using MV data. None of the members of Council spoke in favour of development charges, so Mayor Love said, “Let’s tuck that one away for now. It wasn’t going to go anywhere.”
Road construction and maintenance
Operations Manager Hilary Kutchkoskie said roads requiring repair included Paugh Lake Road ($300,000), Wilowski Drive ($50,000) and Lakeshore Drive ($160,000). Other roads not on the 5-year plan also needed work. The Mayor said, “We put a lot of people off last year because we got the money and did Old Barry’s Bay Road. [We] would like to see a little more of Paugh Lake Road done because people had concerns out that way.”
Most recreation facilities require some work, the bigger amounts being the Paul J. Yakabuski Centre kitchen and arena floor, and the Water Tower roof).
Staff requested guidance on operating hours and staffing needs; this was deferred pending a report from Councillor Shulist by March 5.
It was noted that the Treasurer’s Department must pursue collection of tax arrears. (Klatt previously reported to Council that prior to tax billing Aug. 29, 2018 the total tax arrears were $623,235.60) Council will consider whether the grace period should be reduced from three years to two years.
Municipal office needs
The township must invest in telephones, server, computer software, more efficient offices and a Financial Plan. Individual items ranged from $16,000 to $100,000.
Once annual audit preparations are complete, staff will prepare a draft budget for Council to consider. Several staff and committee reports will be brought to the Council in Committee meeting scheduled for March 5.