NAW council share priorties as budget planning is set to begin

·3 min read

Eganville – North Algona Wilberforce Township council members submitted their individual priority lists of budget items as they prepare for a series of workshops to begin in 2022 and there is a heavy emphasis on infrastructure and improving access to services for residents.

Earlier this year, council members were asked to submit their lists and everyone, with the exception of Councillor Melvin Berndt, provided a wide range of topics.

Councillor Doug Buckwald’s list contained some major infrastructure projects that were identified as areas for potential economic growth including continuation or completion of work on the Wilkens Recreational Trail and the Deacon Boat Launch.

He also recommended completing various road projects that were either downsized or postponed from the 2021 work plan including reconstruction of Berndt Road and replacement of the fire department’s tanker.

Repairs to the cottage at Melissa Bishop Park, including high speed internet availability for both the cottage and a repeater system for council chambers, was identified to go along with upgrades at the Sno-Drifter’s property.

Councillor Janet Reiche-Schoenfeld’s list concentrated less on physical infrastructure and on service towards ratepayers as she suggested monies be put in reserves for legal expenses, more on service review. She identified the need for a higher quality Zoom/internet service so ratepayers have better access to computer-streamed meetings.

She also recommended money be put in reserves for a new fire truck and funds be allocated for the annual swim program. She also noted allocation of funds for the 2022 municipal election; marketing and rebranding of the township and urged councillors to keep in mind the fluctuating increases for the annual cost-of-living (COR).

Councillor Maria Robinson’s list had a similar theme to Coun. Reiche-Schoenfeld’s priorities in the area of more interaction with residents. She suggested up to $500 be earmarked for community focus groups, and paid membership and active participation in the Eganville and Area Community Development Group (EACDG). She also recommended a future Christmas dinner plan well in advance of the actual event and increased funding for the township’s recreation committee to allow for more options.

Mayor James Brose’s first item on his list was a payment of $104,000 to cover the township’s Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre (OVWRC) contribution for the leachate expansion.

He noted a new line item would be funding for a Special Projects Coordinator at a cost of $70,000 for wages and benefits.

He also recommended $750,000 be allocated for some infrastructure projects that were not completed, including Black Point Road, B-Line Road, Crooked Rapids Road, Berndt Road, and Point Church Drive.

The acquisition of the Sno-Drifters Club will require ongoing operational expenses and development funds for expansion at a cost of $35,000.

He also recognized the need for a new tanker truck for the fire department and suggested it be financed through a loan. Other infrastructure projects to be considered were an engineering study for the Deacon Boat Launch and a culvert on Island View Drive.

Finally, he recommended adding an electronic sign at the new public works garage in Golden Lake at a cost of $35,000 to $40,000.

Council and staff will schedule a series of workshops and a day for a public presentation beginning in early 2022. It will be the last budget completed by the current council leading up to the 2022 municipal election.

Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader

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