The mayor in Centre Hastings says taxes are definitely going up this year, but he’s not sure yet how much.
Councillors met yesterday and agreed to approve capital costs as is, but still have work to do, when it comes to cutting some spending.
Mayor Tom Deline tells Quinte News, the biggest reason for the increase is the cost of policing.
He added that at yesterday’s preliminary budget meeting, councillors put forward a number of ideas on how to bring in more money and the rate down.
In total, Deline says councillors are trying to slash $250,000, in order to get to a number where they feel comfortable.
He says councillors have already agreed on approving the capital budget as is, when the time comes, but no more work will be done on the spending plan until Hastings County finalizes its budget.
Also last night, councillors agreed to have staff start preparing a draft site control plan by-law, to regulate some aspects of plans for larger apartment complexes, with four-or-more units and industrial developments
Mayor Deline tells Quinte News, the plan will outline some different rules around function, design and appearance of proposed developments.
The draft plan will also be circulated to local environmental agencies for input, before being approved.
Hastings County is trying to have as many of its municipalities as possible pass similar by-laws as well.
Councillors also got an update on the Centre Hastings Support Network Rural Transit Plan, which seems to be rolling.
Representatives from CHSN, which runs the busing system in Centre Hastings and four other municipalities, say ridership is up over 500 passengers this year, with 30% coming from Centre Hastings.
Councillor and Transit Vice Chair Eric Sandford is pleased with the numbers, but tells Quinte News, the routes need to be expanded to places like Belleville General Hospital.
At this point, CHSN buses only run to the Belleville bus terminal, forcing patients to transfer to get to BGH, at extra cost.
The group also says it will be buying a new, 16-seat accessible bus, with $63,000 from the Ontario Gas Tax Rebate.
And also from last night’s busy meeting, some good news for hockey players at the Madoc arena, who will be able to see the puck better next season.
Council has agreed to upgrade the rink’s lighting to LED bulbs, making the facility more energy efficient.
Early estimates put the price tag at about $88,000 and the municipality has already been approved for 50% funding from the federal Canada 150 grant program.
Requests for proposals, for contractors to do the work, will go out next week.