Budget passes, up slightly from initial esetimates
Brighton Council has approved its 2017 spending plan, with the tax increase a little higher than first thought.
The total budget comes in around $17 million, with a tax increase of 2.45%, or about $60 a year on a home valued at $250,000 in 2016.
Blended with the Northumberland County tax, the rate is just under 2%.
About a third of the money will be used for infrastructure and public works projects, with council also approving added spending for some smaller purchases, like equipment to live-stream meetings to the internet.
Mayor Mark Walas was happy with the process overall and says staff followed the guidelines that were set out.
The budget passed on the third recorded vote of the night, with councillors Baker and Martinello voting against.
Baker felt the municipality was spending too freely, but the mayor and most others on council, didn’t feel the same way.
The mayor did add that no significant borrowing has been planned for 2017.
Councillor Mary Tadman also noted that if the town wants to grow, it’s going to cost more to run things.
CAO to clarify contract details with GSS
The town of Brighton will continue to have an Owen Sound company monitor its wastewater plant, despite a motion to end the deal.
Councillor John Martinello had wanted council to find another firm to send regular reports on the plant to the Ministry of Environment for a number of reasons, one being the fact the written contract between the sides ended in December.
CAO Bill Watson told council an agreement had been made verbally and he would get it in writing and clarify things.
Watson added GSS has been working with the town for a while and would likely still be the best candidates for the job, even if they went with someone else.
The CAO also says he’s heard the MOE may be done with phase one of its report on the plant soon and he’ll bring that information forward as soon as he has it.
When questioned about how much the service was costing, Watson told council GSS hasn’t been paid any more than then $80,000 -$90,000 that was budgeted for in 2016.
Seniors program nets award for library
Seniors in Brighton are a lot more tech savvy, thanks to a now award winning program run by the town’s public library.
The library has won a Minister’s Award for Innovation, for its program that gives seniors help with anything from sending an email, to working a smart phone, in weekly half-hour sessions.
The program began as a group session in 2016, but is now run as a one-on-one format, over the course of a six week period, three times a year.
Acting Board Chair Murray Workman noted that the award is an indication of the professionalism and dedication of the library’s staff.
BEDC to get new look
After being “dormant” for some time, the Brighton Economic Development Committee may be getting a new look.
Staff has been tasked with re-analyzing the terms of reference for the committee, looking at things like its make-up and the scope of what it should be responsible for.
Mayor Mark Walas says there’s been feedback that not enough is being done in-town to help with economic development, especially since money is already being spent at the county level to promote and attract businesses.
The report is set to come back in the spring, with Deputy Mayor Laura Vink requesting it be done as soon as it can be, to hopefully have a committee in place for the upcoming tourist season.
Georgina Street Work to be paid for, CAO forgiven?
Despite CAO Bill Watson’s spending mistake, the town of Brighton will pay for the extension of a watermain on Georgina Street, to the tune of around $41,000.
The CAO had signed off on the contract with Behan Construction, because the pipe work has to be done under provincial guidelines, but accidentally overstepped his spending boundary.
Some councillors continued to grill Watson for not following the process, while others commended him for owning up to his mistake and wanted to move forward.
Council agreed to the work by a 5-2 recorded vote, mainly because the municipality is obligated to do the work.
Councillors Baker and Martinello had voted against the motion