Endings and Beginnings

In December Council finalised the Township’s 2020 budget and 2019-2022 Strategic Plan.

2020 Budget

South Frontenac’s 2020 budget is 30 million dollars with 20 million raised from taxation: an average 2% increase.

Overall the budget maintained traditional priorities.  the top five expenses are: roads (45%), police (10%), general government (9%), Fire (7%) and solid waste management (7%). For those that look at the budget you will note that general government is 5 million, or 16% of the budget, but approximately half of that is transfers to reserves for future expenses.

The budget details include:

  • A decrease in roadside spraying for invasive species, but an increase in roadside mowing, which has less negative environmental impact and should be more effective in the long run.
  • Reducing the staff proposal to help maintain the Cataraqui Trail, one of our biggest recreation areas, our only truly 4 season park and well used, from 15 thousand to 5 thousand dollars.
  • Deferring the recommendation to install an electric vehicle charging station, the only action directly related to cutting carbon emissions, for further discussion, though it is still in the budget waiting final approval.
  • Similarly, a proposal to hire another planner, needed to improve our monitoring of development, prepare more comprehensive and enforceable subdivision agreements and bring planning control back to the Township, is in the budget but deferred for more details.
  • Establishing a 30 thousand dollars fund to assist with studies on lake health.
  • A larger increase in winter control expenditures than the increase in the overall budget, reflecting the more adverse and unpredictable winter weather in a changing climate.

2019-2022 Strategic Plan

At the December 17 Council meeting a new, streamlined strategic plan was approved.

Attachment 1 – DRAFT Proposed Strategic Plan

Along with being more accessible, the Strategic Plan includes a new South Frontenac Vision statement: “Natural, vibrant and growing – A progressive rural leader”.

The strategic plan includes stronger language on environmental protection but does not include a specific statement on climate change, our biggest environmental threat.  This reflects the relatively few times climate change was mentioned in the public input on the Strategic Plan. Conversely, the community consultations on the Official Plan, including more comments from younger members of the community, identified climate change and three other environmental concerns as four of the top five issues to be dealt with in the new Official Plan.

What’s Ahead in 2020

Council agendas in 2020 should include:

  • Further public consultation on the new official plan, including a Township vision and growth study;
  • A bylaw to control signs on public road allowances;
  • Discussion on using more electronic signs to advertise Township events;
  • A staff report on a climate change action plan;
  • A review of the major items outstanding on the Johnson’s Point Condominium Development; and,
  • A public engagement plan for the Sydenham water system including my comments on one possible approach.

Three other projects percolating are a new seniors housing project in Verona, plans for new Township administrative offices, and reports from the new recreation committees on improving recreation opportunities in the Township.

I want to thank everyone for the thought you have given to Township issues in the past and I look forward to more comments in the future.  Also, thank you for the many volunteer hours you spend and the donations of personal resources you make to community projects South Frontenac.  They make the Township, and the world, a better place to live.

About Ross Sutherland

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