Northeast Town council begins work on draft 2022 budget, public meeting to follow

NEMI

NORTHEAST TOWN – Members of council for Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands got their first look at the draft budget for 2022 during the Tuesday, October 12 council meeting. The proposed budget would see a 2.23 percent increase in the municipal levy.

Due to the manner in which costs are distributed among the Northeast Town’s ward system, the actual tax increases (or decreases) for each ward are not yet included in the draft document.

The proposed capital expenses for the upcoming year include nearly $8,000 for new council chamber chairs (to be taken from reserves), $88,000 for asset management software ($56,250 of which is covered by a grant) and $12,000 (net to town) for improvements to the washrooms at the Tourist Info Centre.

Northeast Town CAO Dave Williamson informed council that the Information Centre (located near the Little Current swing bridge) saw 7,000 visitors come into the centre proper. “You can figure that at least double that number came into the building to use the washrooms but did not come in to see someone at the counter,” said Mr. Williamson.

Other capital projects include the digout of Green Bay Road, which Mr. Williamson noted had been assessed to ensure the money was being well spent. The $50,000 price tag for the digout would come from the provincial gas tax transfer. Surface treatments will be applied to 3.2 kilometres of the Green Bush Road ($140,000 with $122,000 coming from the gas tax and the rest from gas tax reserves) and half a kilometre of surface treatment for Syndenham Street/Bay Village Road in Sheguiandah ($25,000 for each coming from the gas tax reserve).

The Meredith Street Drain in Little Current will see $125,000 allocated from the gas tax reserve.

No sidewalks are slated in the 2022 budget.

The 2022 capital budget includes $350,000 for a sand dome in Sheguiandah, something the town has recognized is needed, but unless a grant can be secured for the project it will remain on the wish list. The draft budget also includes $300,000 for a tandem snowplow, with $181,050 coming from working capital reserves and $118,950 net to town.

The town’s recreation centre will see a $425,400 investment, including the removal of the old chiller (a necessity due to the type of refrigerant used in the old system), with a new condenser to tie the two systems (hockey and curling club) together, boiler and hot water upgrades, desuperheater and replacement of the ice resurfacer and ice edger ($406,137 will come from a grant, while the ice surfacer replacement reserve will pick up the remaining $19,263)

Low Island is set for a revitalization, with $167,000 allocated, $157,744 coming from grants, and $9,256 coming from the recreation department.

New yard lights will be installed at Spider Bay Marina, with the $25,000 price tag coming from the Spider Bay Marina accounts (which operate as a business and usually produce net revenue to the town), while the $360,000 revitalization of Spider Bay Marina’s pier 6 (unless grant monies can be accessed for this project, it also will remain on the wish list).

Mr. Williamson pointed out that this year’s capital budget is lower than usual, pointing council to the unusually large number of capital projects completed in the past year having drawn down reserves significantly.

Council will review the budget and come back with their recommendations before the budget is presented to the public for comment and finalized.