Northeast Town Council passes 2018 municipal budget

LITTLE CURRENT—The Northeast Town passed the 2018 draft budget at its council meeting last week which reflected a 2.5 percent increase to the levy.

Town CAO Dave Williamson presented the final draft budget to council noting that it included a $107,585.83 increase to the levy, or 2.5 percent.

The capital projects in the 2018 budget include: a computer server replacement at the town office; road construction (Connecting Link and dependent on funding); urban road surface treatment on Campbell Street West and Cockburn Street); rural road surface treatment on Bay Street, Gaida’s Side Road, Green Bay Road, Limekiln Road and North Channel Drive; public works snow plow purchase (replacing 2005 vehicle); public works sand dome in Sheguiandah (100 percent dependent on funding); repair of downtown sidewalks; watermain (cast iron) replacement (funding secured); lagoon upgrade (funding secured); truck purchase (half ton community services vehicle); ice plat upgrades at the recreation centre; dehumidifier replacement and light upgrades at recreation centre; ball field and soccer field work; museum flooring; dock revitalization at Spider Bay; Ward 1 (the Islands) shoreline clean up; Northeast Town Fire Department auto extrication equipment upgrade and sewer back up protection at the Little Current station; and a municipal office chair lift to make the building accessible (partially funded).

Councillor Bill Koehler noted that he would like the town dock to be completed where the former Ontario Provincial Police boathouse once stood.

“Our downtown docks are 90 percent completed and this project would allow our docks to be finished,” said Councillor Koehler.

Mr. Williamson stated that the cost would be $40,000 for H beams, decking and a bench and that the funds would come from the waterfront reserves, not the town levy.

Council approved the project with the funds to come from the waterfront reserves.

It was noted by town staff that the 2018 budget would maintain the existing levels of service, while continuing to invest in the critical infrastructure of the municipality.

A motion was made to pass the 2018 Northeast Town municipal budget by Councillor Marcel Gauthier and seconded by Councillor Michael Erskine.

Councillor Erskine said he was pleased with the 2018 budget and that it would be “once again reducing the mill rate.”

Councillor Melissa Peters said that she wouldn’t be supporting the budget.

“For me, this is an election year budget—flashy with no substance,” said Ms. Peters, noting that she felt council wasn’t looking at the long-term effects of the budget.

She went on to state that she believed the arena infrastructure was in bad shape, as were the town sidewalks and roads.

“For me there are serious issues being avoided and the community is being abandoned because it is an election year,” she said. “Having the lowest tax rate in the area is not something to be proud of.”

Councillor Paul Skippen responded that he didn’t appreciate being called irresponsible.

“I don’t usually speak out, but if someone is calling me irresponsible I need to say something,” said Councillor Skippen. “I try and look into everyone’s needs and I think this budget does that—the needs of the municipality and its residents.”

Council carried a motion to accept the 2018 budget.