Capital budget presented to Southgate council

·4 min read

The capital and special projects as first presented in the draft budget to council last week would raise the township portion of taxes by about two percent.

But there are lots of factors at work in the budget process.

Southgate’s growth in assessment will lower the impact to each individual household with more household and businesses to share the tax burden.

Council will be looking at all aspects of the capital and operating budgets to prioritize items.

Treasurer Liam Gott made the first presentation on the proposed 2022 budget in a special meeting on Nov. 11. Public input is now planned for Jan. 11, with the final council discussion scheduled late that month.

Council had some general discussion of the budget, with councillors questioning some of the longer-term building projects.

While several members of council expressed a desire to keep the tax increase low, higher costs from inflation will have their impact.

“I can confidently say it’s not going to be one or two percent,” Mr. Gott forecast, given the needed projects and pressure from inflation and rising insurance costs.

Coun. Jason Rice added that the township should be looking closely at its Development Charges, which are scheduled to be updated in late 2022.

Mr. Gott explained that debt will only be used to finance projects that are mostly due to growth – not replacement. That’s the recommended asset management plan strategy.

Southgate had previously used debt for replacement projects as well.

The 2022 capital and special project budget amount that comes from the taxpayer’s share, the levy, was presented at $2.6 million, compared with $2.3 million in 2021.

It’s a 12.5 percent year over year for that portion, but the treasurer said that the impact in a blended rate would be a 2.2 percent increase.

In order to avoid one-year spikes during the year of an expense, reserves are used to smooth out the increases, Mr. Gott said.

So capital budgets include 10-year plans. One major project, slotted in for 2024, is a new home for township administration staff in a multi-use recreation facility.

About $1 million was attributed to administration, and $3 million to recreation. For recreation, in 2028 at this time a $12 million expense is forecast for a new $12 million community centre/arena. Nothing was included in the budget for the Olde Town Hall, a note added.

About $7 million is projected in 2022 and 2023 for the Hwy. 10 extension of the Eco-Parkway and servicing of that land, but none of it would be taken from the taxes of those years.

Roads projects in 2022 were listed at about $2.1 million, with about $1.7 million coming from current year’s taxation.

2022 PROJECTS

Victoria St Drain pipe

Paving/road reconstruction projects

Stephens Pit 2 Road and fencing

Proton St parking lot

AVL/GPS & tablets – funded by modernization reserve

Tandem Plow Truck; Sidewalk Plow; 1 tonne, 3 pick-up trucks, loader brusher head

2023

-Victoria St reconstruction

-Sale of Stephen’s Pit Farm - Repayment of Debt (deferred from 2021 (township to retain pit area, which is awaiting approval for extraction)

WATER & WASTEWATER

The hefty projects that are foreseen in the next 10 years don’t come from taxes but from user rates for water and wastewater and development charges paid by those building in town. The township will also be looking for help from upper-tier governments through grants.

WATER PROJECTS

The largest project in the 10-year horizon are:

2022 - $5.9 million for: water tower construction; Neptune collection tower; Victoria St W watermain

2023 - $4.9 million - Victoria St West section watermain

2026 - $1.7 million - Main St W Watermain/oversizing; Victoria St E watermain

2028 - $4.2 million - Well D6 Construction; Victoria St E Watermain.

WASTEWATER

2022 - Sewage Treatment Facility upgrades - partly funded with development charges and grants. The notes to the budget say that the consultant is hoping alternatives to a full plan can be used so that upgrade costs can be limited to $2-$5 million. Pump replacements

2023 - Victoria St (to Ida St) extension 2025 - Ida & Eco pumping station (DC to support growth – plus a possible major upgrade to the plant pumping station “to address broader issues” plus Main St W pre-design.

2026 - Main St W (to Ida St) extension

2028 - Glenelg Sewer

2030 - Ida St N – Glenelg Sewer

The special projects are really operating expenses, Mr. Gott clarified, however they have been discussed with capital project in the past. The amount proposed for 2022 is $155,600, with the highest amount from solid waste.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald

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