Quinte West council has approved spending $23 million on capital projects in 2017.
Monday night council quickly approved its budget in little over an hour with $18.3 million in city projects. The municipality also plans to spend $2.83 million for water projects and $1.9 million for sewer initiatives.
Going in, Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison said “everything we are doing absolutely has to be done and everybody won’t get everything they asked for.”
Big ticket items include: $7.8 million for a fire hall, $5 million for roads and $1.8 million in funding applications, $714,000 for corporate facilities and arenas, $355,000 for information technology, $340,000 on transit, $840,000 for public works equipment, $497,000 on park and $540,000 for the design of the new police station.
The city has filed for four specific funding applications under the Ontario and Canada 150 grants including: Batawa Community Centre kitchen and parking upgrades, Old Town Hall upgrades, Centennial Park hardball field and lighting and waterfront trail expansion through the marina property.
Director of Finance and Corporate Services David Clazie said there are other projects the municipality will have to debt finance down the road such as: $6.5 million for the new fire station, $10.5 million for the new police station, $11 million for a Trenton river crossing and $50 million for the ongoing expansion of the Trenton wastewater treatment facility.
The budget also features $250,000 for land acquisition in Bayside from the public school board.
Harrison said the property near Bayside Secondary School will house an expansion of the Bayside Fire Hall and possibly a Hospice.
Keith Reid was the only councillor to vote in opposition of the budget as he said it included very little for fixing Frankford roads. He said he would like to see $250,000 pulled from road resurfacing and put towards fixing South Wellington Street and part of Scott Street in Frankford. His request was denied.
In order to pay for the projects, the city will pull $3,575,000 from capital reserves, $3,297,000 will come from federal gas tax, $640,000 from other reserves, $822,000 in development charges, $2,000,000 from provincial infrastructure – OCIF, $170,000 in federal transit funding, $6,500,000 in debt, $1,160,000 applied for though the Canada and Ontario 150 Community grants (not approved) and $137,000 from the parkland reserve. To assist with the water and wastewater projects the City is transferring $1.2 million to capital reserves for water and $900,000 in sewer.
During discussions, Clazie suggested a 1% capital tax levy like he did last year which would generate $450,000 of new money every year. Council didn’t have an appetite for the suggestion with Don Kuntze saying businesses and residents were having a hard enough time making ends meet.
Mayor Harrison said the matter can still be revisited during operating budget talks.