Budgets, Bother and Byways

36.6-Million Dollar Budget Proposal

A 36.6-million-dollar draft 2021 budget has been presented to Council.

The budget identifies the real priorities of the Township, what it is prepared to pay for; and, it directly impacts all residents both through services delivered, and taxes and user fees paid.

The proposal is that expenses in 2021 will be 21 percent higher than in 2020 with the bulk of revenue coming from a large draw on reserves, 9.3-million-dollars, and 20.7-million-dollars raised by taxation, a 2.18 percent increase. After phased-in-assessment the average tax bill will increases 2% or $32.25 for a property assessed at $271,013.

Capital construction highlights are:

  • Road construction – $7 million.
  • New fire hall (Battersea Road) – $2.2 million.
  • Arena upgrades – $1.3 million.

The large operating budget categories are:

  • Roads – $7.5 million.
  • Winter maintenance – $2.5 million.
  • Police -$3 million.
  • Solid waste management (garbage) – $2.8 million.
  • Township operations – $2.3 million.
  • Fire and Rescue – $1.8 million.
  • Parks and recreation -$772 thousand.
  • Planning – $447 thousand.

Some smaller items of note are:

  • New official plan – $145 thousand.
  • Costs associated with 25 new volunteer fire fighters (about $150 thousand).
  • Lake Studies – $60 thousand.
  • COVID support – $250 thousand.
  • Climate change adaptation/mitigation -100 thousand.
  • Staffing changes that create two light equipment operators for winter control and summer road side mowing, a financial analyst and an administrative assistant for Fire and Rescue, and net increase will be 1.8 new FTEs (full time positions) – $109 thousand in 2020, about $150 thousand yearly.
  • Two tractors with mowers for roadside mowing – $460 thousand.

The entire draft budget can be found at: https://www.southfrontenac.net/en/town-hall/munic.aspx.

What do you think of the Budget?

Your comments on what is missing, what is too much and the overall direction of the budget are welcome.

If you have questions, I would be happy to try and answer them, or after January 4, Louise Fragnito, the Township Treasurer, 613-37603027 ext. 2328, can provide more complete answers.

If you would like to make your comments to all of Council there is a special meeting, January 12, set aside for pubic deputations on the budget.  It will be a virtual meeting and you can register online to speak, or, after January 4,  contact the Clerk, Angela Maddocks, 613-376-3027 ext. 2222.

Your written comments before January 12 would also be very helpful.

Progress on Road-Side litter?

An ongoing Township problem is road side litter from people throwing away garbage, signs haphazardly erected and left to rot, and organized littering by ad bag newspapers.  Council has discussed this problem many times and after numerous rounds of unsuccessful negotiations progress may have been made on newspapers thrown into ditches and at the end of lane-ways.

There are two newspapers distributed free in the Township.  Frontenac News uses the mail service so all their papers end up in mail boxes.  Some of Kingston This Week’s papers are left in mail boxes but many are thrown, if lucky, into the end of driveways, but are often left under mailboxes, in ditches or on the main road.

Discussions between Township staff and Kingston This Week have produced a written proposal that will see Kingston This week distributed in community newspaper boxes in a variety of hamlets around the Township.  Kingston This Week will deliver their papers into mail boxes, expect where it is not safe to do so.  The Township has not received a list of unsafe locations.

While not perfect, it still allows some littering and gives one of the newspapers the unfair advantage by being able to litter without penalty, it might keep some newspaper garbage off the roadside.

I and the Township need to know if there is still a problem with newspapers being left in places where they are an eyesore or a nuisance.  If the problem continues Council will consider various legal options to stop this littering.

Council is also waiting for a staff report on signs along roads.

If you do not want Kingston This Week please call them, 613-544-5000 ext. 547144, and they should stop delivering to your address.

Gravel Roads

The Public Services Committee is going to have a discussion on how to maintain and upgrade gravel roads.  Gravel roads were primarily used as summer access roads, but with more and more people living full time in all parts of the Township, the number of families and the amount of time they rely on these roads has increased.   Many of these roads, Leland, Maple Leaf, Billie Green, Eel Bay and Shales, easily come to mind, have poor foundations and drainage, and are often difficult and dangerous to travel on. Planning a way forward is needed. I am glad the committee will be starting that process and I hope they will invite comment from the users of these roads.

About Ross Sutherland

retired nurse, researcher, public health care activist.
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