The Big Ones

Some of the Township’s big priorities – roads, waste management, planning enforcement, taxes and provincial downloading – have been on last months agendas.

First the Facts

In preparation for recommendations on how Frontenac County and its Townships might get more provincial road grants, Frontenac County compared itself to four other Counties (Presentation on Regional Roads Network ) : Lanark, Hastings, Lennox and Addington (L+A) and the United Counties of Leads and Grenville (UCL+G).
Frontenac County has:

• significantly fewer lane kilometres of road than Lanark, Hasting and UCL+G,
• fewer bridges and culverts than all four,
• the lowest taxes,
• the lowest road expenditures, but also the highest percent of its budget spent on roads, and
• the largest reserves.

South Frontenac Township spends less per kilometre of road ($6,721) than Lanark County ($7,955), L+A County ($8,658) and UGL+G ($7,865). Within Frontenac County, South Frontenac spends more per kilometre than the other three Frontenac Townships. South Frontenac spends 49% of its budgets on roads and has about 16 million dollars in reserves.

Not Enough Provincial Grants

The County summed up the data this way: Frontenac County has 17% of the five counties’ road network, 16% of the assessment, 20% of the land area, and 13% of the bridges & culverts, but only receives 10% of the grant dollars. The County calculates that if we received grants at a level similar to the other counties, Frontenac County and its Townships would get about $4.34 million more per year.

The County’s proposal is that the Township’s sign over 1% ownership of a road network to the County effectively creating a County road system and the ability to apply for upper tier level infrastructure grants. A proposal to fund further work on this option is coming to Council in May.

Waste Collaboration

The public works managers in Frontenac County’s four Townships have been discussing greater regional cooperation on waste disposal possibly including all of Eastern Ontario. Frontenac Waste Management Review

Most of the discussion is centred on recycling, yet 50% of total garbage is organics. With the volume of organics in the larger region industrial composting and bio digesting of organics to produce gas become possible. Planning to get organics out of landfills is arguably the most useful next step in waste reduction.

Landfill Lifetime Expands

This year’s elevation  of South Frontenac’s landfills (Cambium – Annual Update on Waste Disposal Sites) found that the lifetime of our dumps has increased 6 years to 26 years. This positive news is the result of numerous factors, not least of which is greater waste diversion. The extra time will save the Township money, and allow for more consideration of post-landfill options and for changes in government policy: all of which are needed.

Compliance with Subdivision Conditions

Conditions are placed on developments to improve and protect the social and environmental fabricate of Township. They make clear who pay for which costs of development. For these conditions to be effective proper oversight is necessary. Concerns over developer’s adherence to the conditions of approval are often raised by residents.
The Development Services Committee is recommending to Council that the Township hire a consulting engineer to help implement the conditions of approval for subdivisions and condominiums. If passed, the policy will be a significant step for the Township and the residents that live in our new subdivisions/ condominiums.

Provincial Downloading Starts

Three agencies that are close partners of the Township: Conservation Authorities, Public Health Units, and libraries, have had significant reductions in their provincial funding. The Township has a funding responsibility for all of these organisations. To maintain their services the Township will need to pay more money. The province has effectively downloaded some of the costs for these needed services to property tax payers.

New Township Administration Building

The Township is growing and as it grows it needs more staff to maintain services and meet new demands: more scrutiny over development, better roads, more speed control, better fire services and more recreation services. They all take staff.

The Township also has a responsibility to provide safe and reasonable working conditions. Currently we have multiple staff working in rooms meant for one person. We need more space.

Council has set aside 2.75 million dollars in the capital reserve for new administrative offices within five years. Council has withdrawn the Township from consideration of a joint administration building with the County and the Conservation Authority is looking at the feasibility of expanding the current administration building.

 

About Ross Sutherland

nurse, researcher, public health care activist, councillor South Frontenac Township
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