Clearview budget starts out with 9.14% increase

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Clearview council members got a look at the proposed 2022 budget during the first of several workshops Monday.
The staff proposed budget comes with an increase of 9.14 per cent increase over last year.
It is council’s practice to work through the budget whittling it down and often adding items, to get to a desired finished product.
“This is perhaps a really difficult budget for our council to address this year given the Covid recovery that our community continues to go through, given the level of support that we are receiving from the Province of Ontario when it comes to grants and other funding that comes to us on a regular basis, it continues to be challenging,” said Mayor Doug Measures.
“We, as a municipality are impacted by a lot of external influences,” he said referring to cost of living, the construction price index, and inflation.
He urged councillors to look for opportunities to reduce, delay or create some savings.
COA John Ferguson said the township is seeing an 11.6 per cent increase in construction costs, and has to eat some costs associated by contractual obligations.
“I’ll be up front with council there is not a lot of discretionary spending within this budget,” said Ferguson.
New growth is accounting for $200,000 in new tax revenue toward total spending, with the rest falling on the taxpayer, and reserves.
Treasurer Kelly McDonald highlighted some of the main financial pressures relating to two departments: administration and transportation services, which will be presented on Nov. 29.
The tax bump can be partially attributed to a $100,000 increase transfer to the Affordable Seniors Housing Reserve, $52,000 in additional policing costs, a $50,000 increase to the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital building reserve and a request for the addition of a human resources assistant position at $72,000.
McDonald said the township had 31 job postings in 2020 and 51 job postings in 2021, with three to six interviews required for each, so there is a need.
Other highlights include $55,000 for events under economic development, $125,000 for an accessibility renovation of council chambers, $50,000 injection into the Community Improvement Plan and $50,000 for the Beautification Fund, including benches for downtown Stayner and parks.

Fire department

Fire chief Roree Payment presented a $2,210,000 operating budget and $155,000 capital budget.
Costs include increasing an administrative assistant job to full time (increase from $48,000 to $65,000), an honorarium for captains and lieutenants ($24,000-$42,500), and a classroom addition to the Nottawa fire hall ($200,000).
Payment said it is time the township consider the purchase of an aerial truck, at a cost of $900,000 to $1.2 million and fully funded by development charges.
He said current and future building trends mean taller and bigger buildings, which create challenges for firefighters. Clearview is also home to large scale businesses, including Peace Naturals in Stayner, and has three- and four-storey developments on the books for Stayner and Creemore.
“If we are going to have this type of infrastructure we need to be able to protect it,” said Payment.

Parks & rec

Terry Vachon presented the parks and recreation department budget saying that the pandemic forced the temporary closure of facilities, resulting in lost revenue.
Looking ahead, Vachon is including in the department’s budget $120,000 for the creation of a fully accessible park in Stayner.
He is proposing the addition of three summer students and converting a part-time maintenance position to full-time, plus $26,000 for Youth Centre programs and supplies, and $5,000 for Community Garden and Eco Park Supplies.
The budget includes $1,088,200 in carry-over spending from last year for Stayner Arena lobby flooring ($75,000), supporting the Stayner Downtown Revitalization Plan Phase 2 ($883,200), Mad River Park upgrades including sunshades, electrical, picnic tables, benches, tent sleeves ($10,000), a Parks Plan to identify inventory, new opportunities and usage ideas ($20,000), and landscaping of Stayner Arena parking Lot/Library ($100,000).
In terms of events, Amanda Murray pitched the new Outdoor and Cottage Show to take place on May 13-14, “a true life n’ style expo for the outdoor enthusiasts featuring vendors such as powersports, camping, fishing and water activities,” and a proposal to re-invent the Small Halls Festival as a series held over several weeks.

Next steps

The next budget workshop is on Nov. 29. A council proposed budget will be presented to the public on Dec. 13 and council will look at the budget again in January, taking public input into account, before finally passing the budget in April or May.

 

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