Cornwall budget time to set tone: MacDonald

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Coun. Mark MacDonald opened the 2016 city budget process saying this is a time for the corporation to “set the tone.”

“(The) tone has been set at 1.9 per cent for these deliberations,” MacDonald said in an opening statement at city hall Wednesday.

“People are expecting big things from this council. We are dealing with three significant issues that will affect us long term … and this is the opportunity to do that,” he said.

MacDonald mentioned the United Counties population and growth is surpassing the City of Cornwall.

He believes, from talking to builders, that lower taxes are enticing people to live outside the city limits.

The maverick councillor also said buying the waterfront lands through the divestiture process will be another issue the city will be facing at the end of March.

That’s when the city and Akwesasne are expected to actually take ownership of the land from the federal government if a deal can be reached.

Coun. Elaine MacDonald said “everything is going up” and people should accept the fact that taxes will be going up.

“If people want to live lean, they can go to the counties,” she said.

Prior to their opening remarks, Coun. Bernadette Clement was appointed chairman of the committee.