Council focused primarily on budget these days

During the past month, town council activity has been primarily on budget deliberation and planning for summer work programs.
Couns. Albanese, Hallikas, and Ryan, along with CAO Mark McCaig and myself, attended the Ontario Good Roads Association and Rural Municipalities of Ontario Association conference.
It was very informative and we were able to meet with five ministers regarding issues related to library funding, funding for Phase II of the heritage tourism plan, court security costs, the municipal hazardous waste program, and relocation of the Ontario Tourism Information Centre.
Unfortunately, we were unable to secure funding for our new library project. This has put a strain on our budget process as a significant component of the original funding proposal is now unavailable.
Council and the library building committee are working towards a solution.
Another concern for council was a recent Assessment Review Board hearing that reassessed Abitibi’s property retroactively in the amount of $531,487.34 for the municipal share.
This covers the period back to 2003 and has to be dealt with in one taxation year. Going forward, we will have a reduced yearly revenue from this reassessment in the amount of roughly $95,000.
The closure of streets in the vicinity of the biomass boiler project, and the upcoming Phase II construction of Central Avenue, has fostered a need to address traffic concerns related to bridge line-ups and large truck travel.
A committee with representatives from police, council, and town management was formed. With detours being inevitable, this committee met with businesses and residents to review past traffic patterns, current issues, and future concerns.
The committee has recommended truck traffic be re-routed down Second Street East for about 90 days. Further recommendations include the detouring of bridge and local traffic through and around the construction site.
Parking also will be restricted throughout the construction zone.
The following engineering and design work for infrastructure refurbishment will be completed this summer: Victoria Avenue from Nelson Street to Sinclair, Nelson Street from Portage to Victoria, and Portage Avenue from Sixth Street to Nelson.
Connecting link funding has been received for engineering and design for Scott Street from Reid Avenue to Colonization Road East.
Meanwhile, the town recently has been advised that our application for $435,000 under the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative has been approved.
These funds will be used for the rehabilitation of the water tower.
As a result, our water tower will be out of service for about 60 days this summer. Residents will be advised exactly when and if water restrictions will be in effect.
In other news, council has passed a resolution to purchase the property and building behind the Operations and Facilities complex. During this summer, the building will be renovated to store collected recyclables as they await shipment to the recycling plant.
Spring has arrived and council is asking all citizens to take personal responsibility and clean up their yards in accordance with property standards bylaws.
Doing this makes Fort Frances a better place to live—and shows respect for your neighbours and fellow citizens.

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