Budget almost done
Brighton Council will be taking at least one more look at the 2017 budget before approving it.
That decision was made Tuesday night after a presentation and public input session on the spending plan, which includes a blended tax rate of 1.99%, or about $60 a year on the average home.
Mayor Mark Walas tells Quinte News a date for that meeting hasn’t been set, but there are a few things still to be discussed.
Total expenditures for 2017 come in at just over $16.9 million, with public works spending accounting for about $5.8 million of that.
Some of those other items include extensions of the Butler Creek Trail and the completion of the EA on the water pollution control plan.
Walas added that, despite a few wrinkles to still iron out, he’s pleased with the way staff stayed within council’s budgetary constraints.
In her report to council, Director of Finance Linda Widdifield noted that the town won’t have to borrow for any of its major road projects, but did take out some cash for ongoing renovations to the municipal office.
Council divided over CAO’s mistake
Brighton’s CAO is admitting a rather expensive mistake and apologizing for it, but some councillors aren’t buying it.
The dispute is over an already completed $47,700 contract to Behan Construction of Brighton, to provide water service to a new home on Georgina Street.
CAO Bill Watson approved the contract feeling it had to be done to meet provincial guidelines, because the home is built in a serviced area.
The problem is, Watson only has signing authority for projects up to $25,000.
He noted some confusion from his previous job with the Town of Cobourg, where his purchasing allowance gave him authority for $50,000.
Councillor Steven Baker, among others, accused Watson and some other councillors of collusion, but a municipal lawyer says nothing illegal happened, because there was no personal gain for Watson.
The lawyer says the contract is binding and must be paid and any repercussions would have to be dealt with internally.
Council has asked staff to bring back a further report on the full costs of the project, as well as a report on reviewing the town’s purchasing bylaw, by the end of April.
More on this Wednesday.
Cars impeding snow clearing to be towed to arena
The municipality of Brighton is making a change to its procedures around towing cars that impede snow clearing.
Currently, cars that are towed because they’re parked on the street when plows go by, are taken to an impound lot.
That means citizens have to pay both a tow truck fee, as well as an impound fee, which is costly and inconvenient.
Council has decided to have cars towed to the King Edward Park Arena lot, instead of the impound, saving drivers some money and limiting the inconvenience.
CAO Bill Watson says it’s providing a better service to residents and making life easier.
Drinking water 100% compliant
Brighton’s drinking water system is completely safe and meets all provincial government guidelines.
The 2017 compliance report shows no issues with water quality or systems that need to be dealt with.
CAO Bill Watson says there are some tweaks that have to be made as far as reporting, but the system is very close to being self-sufficient.
In his report to council, Watson says they will be doing some internal review and training to ensure that processes and procedures remain both fully compliant and financially efficient, moving forward.
Behan bags another road contract
Brighton’s Behan Construction has been awarded another road reconstruction project, to the tune of about $540,000.
The Orchard Crescent reconstruction includes a full excavation, sewer and watermain work, along with new curbs, gutters and sidewalks.
Behan’s bid was the lowest of five and will save the town about $30,000, which will be put back into the public works capital budget.
Councillor Steven Baker noted Behan seems to have the lowest bid on most tenders it submits.
CAO Bill Watson told council it’s because the company is local and bids low because they like doing work in their own town.