Prince Edward County council has wrapped up a light but full day of 2017 budget talks.
The proposed 2017 operating budget of $33.2 million is an increase of $901,000 or 2.8% over 2016. The proposed 2017 capital budget of $12 million is a decrease of $33.3 million from 2016.
The 2016 capital budget was abnormally high largely due to funds budgeted for the rehabilitation of County Road #49, which has since been deferred to 2018.
The total tax supported debt is coming in at $14.9 million with another $31 million in debt for water and wastewater. The amount of debt servicing increased $125,000 over last year due to the new Picton and Consecon fire stations.
The tax levy sits at 1.8% however Chief Administrative Officer James Hepburn stressed that it’s way too early to tell what the impact will be on the public purse as there are a number of things council is considering and grants still coming in.
Deliberations began Monday morning with 12 presentations from organizations seeking grants over $5,000. The bigger requests included: Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation ($60,000), The Recreation Outreach Centre ($50,000), Regent Theatre ($38,000), Festival Players ($20,000) Prince Edward County Arts Council to address Council ($17,805) and Wellington Cemetery Board ($12,000).
Mayor Robert Quaiff echoed last year’s sentiments that he feels Glenwood Cemetery’s annual ask of $60,000 should be a regular line item included within the budget.
These requests will be voted on later in the week, either Wednesday or Thursday.
Monday afternoon was dedicated to a presentation by CAO Hepburn who provided a summary of the proposed budget.
Big ticket items in the capital budget include: roads ($6.7 million); the Benson Park Revitalization ($400,000), Picton parking lot on King Street ($232,000), Millennium Trail Restoration ($450,000), Picton Fire pumper tanker ($345,000) and a tandem axel truck for roads ($270,000).
Tuesday is dedicated to the operating budget that sees transportation services top the list at $9.2 million, protection services is next at almost $4.5 million, recreation and cultural services is $2.9 million and general government services at $2.2 million.
There was a 1.6% or $77,000 increase in policing over last year.
Council started going through user fees Monday, however that was deferred to a Tuesday presentation by Lisa Lindsay who is scheduled to shed some light on increases to community centres and prime time ice rentals.
Discussion on the capital budget and water and wastewater have been set aside for Wednesday and Thursday.
Budget talks start up again Tuesday at 9 a.m. at Shire Hall.