North Stormont budget nears completion

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With the first and second draft reviewed and an opportunity for public delegations completed, the township of North Stormont’s 2021 Budget is nearing completion. The third and final draft of the budget is expected to be presented and passed at the March 16 regular council meeting, CAO Craig Calder said. The March 2 regular council meeting afforded the public an opportunity to speak for two minutes on what they would like to see in the 2021 Budget. Resident speakers included Rainer Pethke, Garfield Dunlop, David MacDonald Sr., Dessia Miller, and Veronique Piette. Topics of discussion included big tax increases, “serious issues” with capital assets such as water towers, fire trucks, sidewalks and roads, the need for professionals in the contract negotiations with GFL, seniors’ health and welfare during COVID-19, the need for a strategic plan and better asset management, the potential need for major ($65,000 plus) repairs to the Moose Creek Pool, and an issue with uneven distribution of funds and attention in villages throughout the township. Four of the five resident speakers commented on the lack of sufficient time to say what they wanted to say during the session. “The budget process has been consistent with previous years and I believe our approach in 2020 and 2021 ensured transparency and has been more inclusionary, supporting public participation,” Calder said. “The budget process progressed as anticipated, and our finance team has exceeded my expectations.” The second draft of the budget was read and reviewed by council during a Feb. 26 special meeting. Calder said the second draft is updated to account for council discussion and recommended amendments following the reading of the first draft. This is then presented to council for confirmation and further discussion. “Options available to council on annual spending are also provided during the second draft,” Calder said. “Finance also provides options on various tax increase percentages, or holding a zero per cent, and the implications for each scenario.”

, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chesterville Record