Budget cuts juggle $212K into blacktop for city roads

In this Feburary 2014, file photo, potholes are patched along Second Street East in Cornwall, Ont. The city's budget committee has made some cuts while also moving more money into roads in 2018. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – While the city’s budget committee has made some cuts, it’s also pushed almost a quarter million dollars into resurfacing the roads you drive on every day.

The committee agreed Friday to reduce funding for bike lane projects by $140,000 – $40,000 from the tax base and $100,000 earmarked from the federal gas tax.

That gas tax money will, instead, be added to the corporation’s $3 million list of road repairs this year, adding the option of doing more asphalt work.

The same is happening with a reorganization of money for the $886,000 replacement of a culvert on McConnell Avenue at the south branch of the Raisin River. The city was not successful in a $754,000 Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund application, which was going to be topped up with $112,000 in federal gas tax money.

Instead, the city will go to the bank for the entire $886,000 and use the $112,000 in gas tax money for roads. After Coun. Andre Rivette raised concerns about the city paying for a culvert, which is part of the watershed and the Raisin Region Conversation Authority’s responsibility, staff will be speaking with the RRCA to see if it will pony up some dough for the project.

Straight cuts from the budget – but more than likely put off for a year – included the P.A. system for the civic complex at $55,000. A $250,000 environmental assessment for the Rotary Traffic Circle was also chopped.

The flooring replacement at the Aquatic Center and the Cornwall Civic Complex will be spread out over two years, saving $55,000 this year on the $110,000 project.

The cost for a washroom at King George Park has been cut in half, saving $25,000. It’s hoped that the city will be able to sell a 2.8 acre piece of land at Ninth and McConnell and move the building on that property to King George to be used for future facilities.

All the adjustments and cuts have brought the budget from a 7.5 per cent increase to 6.3 per cent, or an extra $146.05 this year on a home assessed at $167,000. The committee is trying to work toward a 4 per cent target.

The budget committee meets again for a full day on Friday (March 2), starting at 9 a.m.