$8 million in road work slated as county trims tax bill
When everything was said and done, Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry counties council worked long and hard for two days just to save the average residential taxpayer about 17 cents.
When council sat down to begin budget deliberations on the afternoon of Feb. 19, it was faced with a draft budget that called for taxation totals of $47,931,220, an increase of $1,488,720, or 3.2 per cent, from 2018 levels.
Even with a property assessment increase, that accounted for a two per cent decrease in county property taxes. Indeed, counties treasurer Vanessa Bennett-Metcalfe noted that the draft budget resulted in an average residential property tax decrease of .2 per cent, or $3.
But over the ensuing two days, council cut an extra $81,600 from the budget, resulting in an extra 17-cent reduction on the average residential property tax.
As per usual, transportation accounted for more than half of the budget’s expenses; this year it commanded 51 per cent of the total. Counties engineer Ben de Haan presented a transportation budget that had a net tax requirement of $24,349,811, an increase of $323,213 over 2018 levels.
The 2019 budget includes a number of resurfacing projects in Glengarry, including County Road 2 from Summerstown’s eastern limit to just west of Pilon Point Road, a portion of County Road 18 from County Road 34 to Proctor Road, a portion of road near the instersection of County Roads 17 and 19 in Williamstown, 300 metres of County Road 23 that stretches from north of County Road 24 to Breadalbane Road, three different sections of County Road 24, one stretching from County Road 34 to the eastern tip of Dunvegan, another from County Road 20 to Dunvegan’s western limit, and one from Dunvegan Road to Dunvegan’s east end.
Other resurfacing work includes a section of County Road 30 that stretches from Dunvegan’s northern end to the Prescott-Russell boundary. Also, two portions of County Road 43 will receive resurfacing work. One section stretches from the north leg of County Road 20 to the south leg of the same road. Another extends from the south leg of County Road 20 to Greenfield Road.
All of this resurfacing work will cost about $8,274,000, which is fairly remarkable seeing as how the entire resurfacing budget for all three of the counties is just under $11 million.
In addition to the resurfacing work, the counties will also undertake a number of road projects this year including $610,000 worth of
road improvements on County Roads 20 and 22 in Maxville, a $190,000 environmental assessment for County Road 34 in Alexandria, a $250,000 traffic signal replacement at the corner of County Road 34 and 43 in Alexandria. Additions to the budget
Counties also agreed to provide $100,000 for a massive archiving project, though $66,000 of that total will come from reserves.
The project’s goal is to digitize every single newspaper in the history of the United Counties. The project is a joint effort of The Glengarry County Archives, the Lost Villages Museum, and the Dundas County Archives.
Following a presentation from Lesley Thompson of the Cornwall Innovation Centre on Tuesday morning, council also agreed to provide $50,000 to that initiative. The centre, whose mandate is to train local people to work in local businesses, asked for $50,000 a year for 10 years, similar to Cornwall’s contribution.
Counties saved some money by cutting library wages back to the cost of living and through $45,000 in funding from the cannabis program.
For his part, Warden Jamie MacDonald said he was pleased with the budget and was happy that it didn’t require a whole lot of hard work on council’s part. He and council even rewarded Ms. Metcalfe-Bennett with a round of applause.
The budget should be adopted at an upcoming council meeting.