ASSIGINACK—Assiginack council began its 2018 budget deliberations during last week’s regular meeting, with staff wanting to know what would be the maximum tax increase with which staff could work.
“I don’t want to leave anything important off the table,” said Councillor Brenda Reid.
It was explained by staff that a one percent increase in taxes equals approximately $26,000 more in the municipal coffers.
“We have to look at what really has to be done,” said Councillor Hugh Moggy. “We’re looking at repairs to the garage and a new fire hall. I don’t like the long-term commitment we’ve got,” he added, referencing long-term debts.
Councillor Leslie Fields said that her priorities for the 2018 budget were a generator for the municipal office and a new fire hall.
CAO Alton Hobbs explained that about one-third of the funds needed for a new fire hall have been set aside.
“The fire hall, as it sits now, is not very good,” said Mayor Paul Moffatt.
“What has to be done first; the hall or garage?” Councillor Moggy asked. All of council agreed that the fire hall should be the top priority.
Mr. Hobbs said that, realistically, Central Manitoulin’s fire hall was just over $1 million. Conservatively, he said, Assiginack’s fire hall would likely be in the range of $800,000.
Councillor Moggy said he would still like to see money for Burns Wharf set aside.
“I know I harp on this all the time, but are we okay at the dump?” asked Councillor Reid.
Mr. Hobbs said he was “cautiously optimistic” that they would not have to go to the tax base for projects concerning the landfill.
“We need to set enough money aside to keep the garage in operating order,” the mayor said.
Mr. Hobbs noted to council that the cost of running the marina was $38,000. He asked for council’s blessing to tender the marina’s operations once again, which this time would include a guaranteed income.
“We would also like to see a reduction in summer students,” he added. This coming year, he said, it was suggested to have one public works summer student, not three.
Mr. Hobbs explained they would not have set figures on the fire hall until the end of the month.