After the relevant items from Saturday’s property decisions, the budget stood at an increase of 3.38% or about $37.73 on an average assessment. The decisions include:
- A $10,000 reserve for repairs to the roof and HVAC at 2 Carleton St., which includes the Senior Citizens Centre
- $5,000 for the removal of an ice dam and related work at the Darlene Ryan Port Robinson Community Centre
- $6,500 for an environmental assessment (don’t know – in camera item)
- $39,099 for this year’s installment (10 years @ 3%) on work equalling $1,182,960 at the “New” Arena, most of it to be funded out of development charges
Then the new business started on Wednesday evening. Rather, it was more of the same old business continued.
The Chief By-Law Official started his list of reports (he was just given them on Saturday), with costing on an additional part-time by-laws officer ($75,000 total annual cost) and hand-held ticket machines with accompanying software (about $50,000). At Councillor Handley’s suggestion, based upon a question from Councillor Ugulini, Council decided to wait with either of these until they get a report from the new soon-to-be-started Parking Committee. This way, they can look at possible income from “parking permits, machines or whatever” to keep such an addition revenue-neutral.
Next was the pricing for closing the Allanburg Community Centre and turning the training room at Station #2 into an Allanburg/Thorold South Community Centre. Wearing his Chief Building Official hat, Martin Wild told the Councillors all the work that would have to be done to Station #2, including a separate driveway to keep traffic clear of fire trucks and making the building accessible. With the sale of the Allanburg Community Centre, he figured that project would be revenue neutral. As a result, Council will be having meetings with the public and with firefighters to gauge their feeling about the idea. The new Fire Chief, Michael Seth said he approves, saying that the move would improve the fire fighters’ connection with the community.
The move from the Darlene Ryan Port Robinson Community Centre (DRCC) to the Station #3 bays was an entirely different story. Since the idea called for a Quonset hut to house fire vehicles (the floor in the station might not be strong enough) and the bays converted, the cost would come to about $561,000. The sale of the DRCC would only bring in about $125,000. Since it would cost about $300,000 to repair the Centre, this wouldn’t be cost effective, especially since the Quonset hut would likely be even more because, as Chief Seth pointed out, they would want to bring back the pumper, requiring a 3–bay unit. Council has decided to look into possible alternatives. They did, however set aside $10,000 to have the floor of the station assessed.
Councillor Charron was concerned that the sale of the centre would result in its demolition and it’s a designated building under the Heritage Act. To this Councillor Neale suggested that, should a sale be decided upon, they put strict criteria into the sale agreement that the building not be demolished. Only the original school part of the Centre is designated because the kitchen wing was built much later than the school.
The next installment of the 2015 budget talks is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24 at 6:30.