Wainfleet Township budget 2016 highlights

AprilJeffsWainfleet Township approved its 2016 budget last week during a special meeting of council. Wainfleet Township Mayor April Jeffs and Treasurer Robyn Madere shared some highlights from this year’s budget.

This year, Wainfleet Township is looking at a %2.9224 Net Levy Increase with a total tax levy in dollars to be $4,948,571.

“That is the amount the gross levy went up from last year’s budget,” Madere said referring to the %2.9224 number. “So, we are raising %2.9224 more in tax dollars this year.”

“The increase on Wainfleet’s portion of the tax bill is $46.96,” she said. That amount of increase is for the average non-lakefront home with an assessment of $247,338. The total will vary between homes according to assessed values.

“It is important to note that at the first budget meeting, we kicked some stuff around,” Mayor Jeffs said. “We told Robyn to go back and see if you can scrub some more because she figured she could.”

“They brought it back to us Tuesday night with a %1.92 Net Levy increase, I struggled, I wanted to keep it at that, that is a lot more palatable to the community and nobody else has done that,” she said. “And last year we were at %1.8 and I thought ‘How great would that be if we could stay there.’”

“But council, because of these two new fire halls that are coming up, Ted (Hessels) brought it up then Terry (Gilmore) and Betty (Konc) agreed and I ended up supporting it,” she said. “They said ‘Since we’re low we should probably add one more percent to save for the fire halls.’”

“My benchmark is always keeping it under three percent, I really got hung up on that %1.92 and had a hard time letting it go,” she said. “It is something that is very important though, I think it was very prudent of council to do it.”

“So, that’s partly why we ended up at %2.92,” she said.

The extra money will go into a structured levy reserve according to Madere.

“We have to get drawings this year,” Madere said. “We know the report for that is coming very soon.”

The arena is an ongoing project that is included in this year’s budget. Wainfleet Township’s strategy has been to update the arena in stages, the floor and boards were replaced last year.

“We are going to finish off the arena,” Madere said. “That is a big one, the whole arena will be done at the end of the next year.”

“The boardroom, the roof, everything will be done,” she said. “That’s two big projects there.”

The arena renovations are nearly a $1 million project including the roof, lighting, making it more accessible and updating the seniors centre room among a few other things.

“I think doing it in stages was the best way to do it,” Mayor Jeffs said. “We’re more about retro-fit if we can, and it makes sense, then we don’t need to demolish, then we can pay in phases.”

The Township will be financing part of this final phase of renovations for the arena.

“On this we have to take on a bit of a debt, but, with interest rates as low as they are, it may be prudent to have a bit of debt,” Madere said.

In order to complete the fire hall projects, the Township is looking at some financing over top of money raised through this year’s property taxes to make it work.

“The fire halls are necessary,” Mayor Jeffs said. “This is about safety for people and their property and needs to be done.”

Last year, Wainfleet Township received some lakefront funding and put in some money towards Augustine Beach. This year, they are looking at the Reeb’s Bay/Quarrie Road Beach area.

“At the end of Quarrie Rd. there is a strip of beach that has really become popular because, we think, Sherkston is now closed for day use,” Mayor Jeffs said. “There have been a lot of people using that now.”

“So we put some money in the budget because residents there have voiced their concerns, they’ve suggested putting in some big armorstone to block because people have been going down there with vehicles, going down with them at night and having fires and stuff,” she said.

“So we put some money in the budget to fix up the parking, make sure people can’t take vehicles down to the beach, proper bylaw signage,” she said.

“I think that’ll be a positive thing and help alleviate the shenanigans going on down there,” she said.

Council chambers is high on the priority list for this year’s budget.

“The big project this year is council chambers, to make it wheelchair accessible,” Madere said. “We are going to put in a new ramp to make it more accessible, we have the old ramp, but, no new scooter would be able to use it.”

Mayor April Jeffs wanted to make sure that the residents know that everything is going for good use in the community.

“A few people have come to me over the years, when it comes the economy in general it is more difficult to survive,” she said. “I am okay with it (this budget) because it is very productive, it is all going to good use, it’s not being used to pay down debt.”

“I just want the community to know that we know it’s not easy and it’s not getting any easier so we are trying our best to not be frivolous,” she said.

The entire draft budget that was before council March 22 can be viewed through the Wainfleet Township website: http://www.wainfleet.ca/images/sections/council/files/agenda_packages/2016/2016%2003%2022%20Budget%20Agenda%20Package%20C07.pdf



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