Council to start ‘axing’ budget requests

Councillors will be pulling out the symbolic axe now that the final two town divisions presented their 1998 budget requests Monday night.
And like the two before them, both are asking for more dollars than last year.
Coun. Sharon Tibbs, who chairs the Administration and Finance executive committee, said the next step was for council to start paring down the requests.
“1998 is going to be a guesstimate year,” she explained, adding she was fairly confident the town would be able to make the cuts without raising taxes.
But as a precautionary measure, council raised the town’s borrowing limit from $2 million to $3 million at its Dec. 8 meeting.
“It will not be borrowed unless it has to,” Coun. Tibbs assured.
At the Committee of the Whole meeting Monday, Administration and Finance manager Darryl Allan said major changes from their 1997 budget include a $50,000 reduction in working reserves (resulting in less revenue to the division) and a capital projects expenditure.
The division is requesting a $63,500 increase in its capital budget while keeping its operating budget the same at $1.3 million.
Capital requests include computers ($13,500), office equipment ($2,500), printer replacement ($3,500), work stations ($5,000), building exterior ($10,000), and building air systems ($45,000).
Meanwhile, the Operations and Facilities division is proposing a net expenditure increase of $654,000 in 1998, mainly due to:
o$244,000 loss of municipal road grant;
o$74,000 loss of connecting link grant;
o$310,000 increase to capital municipal roads;
o$98,000 increase in Public Works administration; and
o$69,000 decrease in connecting link contribution to capital.
Municipal road projects included in the proposed $2 million in capital projects include Lillie Avenue and Sixth Street paving (each $10,000), McIrvine Road second lift ($100,000), lights ($35,000), lights at Second Street and Portage Avenue ($18,000), roadwork and watermains on Emo Road from Kirsti to Colonization Road West ($472,000 and $150,000 respectively), Cornwall Avenue ($154,000), Portage Avenue ($16,000), Oakwood Road ($246,000), Lyndy Place South ($137,000), rebuilding and paving of Sixth Street West from Wright Avenue to McIrvine Road ($400,000), and Frog Creek Road ($250,000).
Other major capital projects include a grader ($180,000), Public Works roof repairs ($85,000), repaving the overpass ($425,000) and King’s Highway from Wright to York Avenue ($163,000), sidewalks ($100,600), and a second lift at King’s Highway ($100,000).
Council received preliminary budgets Dec. 8 from the Community Services division (up $500,000) and the Planning and Development division, which requested a three percent increase.
The OPP also is requesting a seven percent increase for its detachment here.