SD&G – County councillors have found a happy medium, recommending an inflationary increase in the 2015 SD&G budget while addressing some problem roads.
“People can bare inflationary increases a heck of a lot better than they can bare five or six per cent in one year,” Warden Eric Duncan told Cornwall Newswatch as county council wrapped up its second and final budget meeting Wednesday morning.
Councillors reached a general consensus to add roughly $2.2 million to the budget to address four road projects.
The increase will add an extra $23 this year to the average SD&G ratepayer with a $184,500 property.
The road projects being added are:
- Resurfacing four kilometers of SDG 7, from SDG 9 to SDG 3, at a cost of $930,000
- Maintenance paving of five kilometers of SDG 10, from Glen Robertson to Quebec, at a cost of $320,000
- Resurfacing two-tenths of a kilometer of SDG 20, from Beaverbrook to the 80 km/h speed limit, at a cost of $40,000
- Committing $50,000 toward starting design and engineering work for the reconstruction of the urban area of County Road 14 in Newington
The balance of the money will likely be put in a road project reserve fund.
While the original budget proposed an overall decrease of three per cent, Warden Eric Duncan says it’s easy to justify the added road work. “There’s a lot of county road work and this is no further that everybody going around the table highlighting a road that they want done in their county,” he said.
Duncan says ratepayers need to know the county took advantage of a major saving this year from the new O.P.P. billing model. “Frankly, we’ve being overpaying O.P.P. costs to the tune of millions of dollars each and every year. Those are millions of dollars that we’ve haven’t been able to put into our road capital that we need to do,” the warden said.
Duncan sees the savings from the O.P.P. as “re-transferring” into road work that should have been done years ago.
Nearly half of all the county tax dollars collected go to roads.
“What people want is good quality roads and they want to see some roads that have been problems for years knocked off. And we finally get a chance to get caught up on some of the stuff we’ve been behind on,” he told Cornwall Newswatch.
The warden believes the county is on the right path for the years ahead as provincial transfers continue to dry up.
“We’ll take it one step at a time. I think we did address here today where for the first time we’re able to spend a few million dollars more on some major projects that have been thorns in councillors’ sides for years.”
County staff will meet March 9, 2015 for a roads meeting to finalize the project list for 2015.
“We’re able in this budget to take two steps forward and not take a step back.”