Faraday council discusses its 2021 draft budget

·8 min read

Faraday Township council discussed their 2021 draft budget at their April 4 meeting. Dawn Switzer, the clerk and treasurer, went through the budget with council and they had a discussion on various lines of the proposed budget. Overall, the municipality can expect no tax increase from last year, and council accepted the draft budget with the revisions they set out. The final 2021 budget will be passed at the next council meeting on May 5.

Switzer led council through the draft budget that she and the staff had worked on. It was divided into several sections. Under General Government, the proposed budgetary amount was $88,742, down from $92,000 budgeted last year. Under General Administration, the 2021 amount was $754,987, up from $435,600 budgeted last year (this includes $307,000 budgeted for a proposed council chamber addition).

Under General Government-Equipment, the budgeted amount for 2021 is $10,000, down from $67,000 in 2020. Under General Government-Custodian, the budgeted amount went down to $5,000 from $5,500 in 2020.

Under Protection to Persons and Property-Fire, the amount budgeted in 2020 was $204,150 while the 2021 budgeted amount is $247,380. This section includes a possible $35,000 to be spent for the fire services review and the final price tag will be known when the updated tenders are submitted and opened. Contribution to Reserve-Fire Department Capital was down to $50,000 in 2021 from $80,000 in 2020.

The Emergency Van and Emergency 911 budgeted contributions stayed the same at $1,000 and $1,500 respectively, while the OPP Policing fees decreased from $402,055 in 2020 to $399,447 in 2021.

Building Inspection and Bylaw Enforcement budgeted values increased slightly in 2021 to $158,408, up from $157,859.

Animal Control’s 2020 budgeted amount was $12,200 and went down slightly in 2021 to $11,950. The Veterinary Unit was $210 last year and went down to $200 this year. The Municipal Dog Pound Requisition was up slightly from $3,416 to $3,472.

Transportation Services remained the same from last year at $111,000, while Road Maintenance went up from $429.500 in 2020 to $778,000 in 2021. Contribution to Reserve-Construction and Update Minimum Maintenance Management remained the same from 2020 at $153,000 and $10,000 respectively. The purchase of a three quarter tonne pickup was an additional $70,000 expense in the 2021 budget that was not needed in 2020.

Roads Construction went down in 2021 to $1,891,305 from $2,157,305 in 2020’s budget. Roads Equipment was $158,000 in 2020 and went down to $156,000 in 2021.

Environmental Services carried a budgeted amount of $254,400 in 2020, while in 2021 that amount had dropped to $202,350.

Contributions to Reserve for Equipment, Future Closure Costs and Future Reclamation all remained the same at $60,000, $50,000 and $50,000 respectively.

Environmental Services Waste Management Board Expenses went up from $225,100 to $227,919, which Switzer noted was from a 9.3 per cent increase in Leachate Treatment from 2020. The Leachate Management Contract went from $26,397 to $27,310, which Switzer mentioned in her notes was part of the OCWA contract, while the Leachate Management Contract Capital went down to $12,000 from $16,000 in 2020.

Recycling Contract went from $46,000 to $45,000 in 2021, while the Recycling HHW Collection fees went from $60,000 up to $70,000.

Recreation and Cultural Service showed a decrease from 2020’s budget of $85,000 down to $21,770 this year.

Planning and Zoning budgeted figure remains the same from 2020 at $7,000.

There was $5,000 allotted for Faraday’s CSWB, due July 1, which was not needed last year, and the cost will be covered by Cannabis funding. The Bancroft Library Grant went up from $27,000 to $28,000 and the proposed contribution to HDTI was reduced from $1,000 to $500. Money for the Bancroft Arena Transfer, the Bancroft Library Transfer, Lower Faraday Cemetery, St. Mark’s United Church Cemetery, the Annual Energy Review and Emissions Reporting, the Asset Management Plan, BACPAC (Basic Accounting Package), the Bancroft Legion, Fireworks, Emergency Training Exercise, Contingency, MicroFIT [Green Energy incentive] Project, Contribution to Capital Reserve, Contribution to AMP Reserve-Roads, and Contribution to AMP Reserve-Structures all remained the same from 2020.

For Revenues for the township, which includes government grants, WDO-MHSW Rebates, municipal fees and service charges and other revenues like community centre rentals, service charges and rents, miscellaneous sales, roads/aggregate resource fees, waste disposal tipping fees, recycling charges, investment income, MicroFIT project income, sale of land and surplus equipment and contributions from capital reserves, the grand total amount for 2021 was $3,284,414, up from $2,785,828 from 2020.

Switzer invited discussion and queries on the presented draft budget. Deputy Mayor Marg Nicholson had a query regarding the $307,000 allotted for the council chamber addition under the General Administration section. Switzer said this was the quote from Beacon Construction and that there had been no word yet on additional funding from the province. A discussion followed where it was noted that the council chambers addition was contingent on the fire department needing more space and taking over the community centre as a result. This question would be answered by the upcoming fire services review, so it was not a foregone conclusion that this money for the addition would even be necessary.

However, Switzer noted that they had applied for funding and if they didn’t use that money and gave it back to the government, it may be harder to get government grants in the future. Nicholson countered that even so, why spend any taxpayer money on something they may not need. Switzer ultimately suggested taking the $307,000 out of the budget for now.

“If we got the grant, we can do a resolution to take money out of reserves and put it into the budget for the addition if necessary, if that’s what council wants,” she says.

Nicholson also asked about building and property maintenance under the section Protection to Persons and Property-Fire in the draft budget.

“We’re back to $30,000? Are we doing something?” she asked.

Switzer replied that the amount was for the engineer costs [for an addition to Lower Faraday Road Hall], as well as a new furnace for Bay Lake Hall.

“And the roof on the fire department [Lower Faraday Road Hall] needs to be fixed. It was leaking again this year. So that’s for the roof to be fixed as well,” she says.

Also hinging on the upcoming fire services review, an amount of $200,000 for a tanker for the fire department. Fire Chief Brian Sears explained to council that it was good to have such a water tanker, as it held more than the pumper trucks, and that additional water could be invaluable when fighting a fire within the township.

Nicholson had another query under Roads, the building and property maintenance section, and Switzer replied that this construction work, budgeted for $250,500 would be funded by the modernization funding they had gotten, $385,000 from the province.

Councillor Murray Bowers had a question about the purchase of a dishwasher for the community centre in Recreation and Cultural Service under the other costs section, which had a budgeted figure for 2021 in the amount of $3,000. This included $500 carried over that was not spent in 2020. Switzer replied that the current old one was not working properly, was over 20 years old, so a new one was needed.

Council also had a query about the Bancroft Library Grant going up $1,000 from last year to $28,000. Switzer replied that the amount usually goes up a little every year, hence the small increase.

Council talked about the money they were going to give out to Hastings Destination Trails Inc. Acknowledging that they had committed to give HDTI some kind of contribution, they discussed what amount and whether it would be a one-time amount or yearly. Set at $1,000 in the draft budget document, it was amended to $500.

At the end of council’s queries and discussion on this draft budget, Switzer announced that there was a zero per cent tax increase for 2021, and that the tax rate would remain the same as 2020. This was despite the county levy being increased by 3.19 per cent.

“So, there’s a $6.28 increase per $100,000 of assessment with the county levy increase. In the township tax rate, there’s no increase. School board levy stayed the same as well,” she says.

With no further discussion, council accepted the 2021 draft budget with the amendments they had set out. In a posting to their website, it was announced that the council will vote to pass the 2021 final budget at their next meeting on May 5.

Mayor Dennis Purcell congratulated the township staff on the draft budget.

“Good work on that budget, Dawn and staff,” he says. “That takes a lot of time, a lot of work and a lot of effort.”

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times