Here we are in mid-winter, the temperature has been like a yo-yo, and we start counting down the days in anticipation of spring and warmer weather!
Early February, Council will be adopting a finalized 2018 budget. I have to commend Staff for all their hard work over the last four months in bringing forward a fair and equitable budget that kept an eye on controlling spending while balancing the challenges of continued levels of service delivery! Staff and Council have made some tough decisions on projects that either had to be scaled back or delayed.
Sadly this is the last year of income from the OLG slots, which is expected to move to Peterborough in the fall. On the bright side we expect to get another three quarters of income from the Slots, that averages $750,000 per quarter. Other factors that present a challenge every budget are the cost of living increases each year, plus the inevitable attempt of downloading services by the province to our Municipality.
Given this, the Township has done a remarkable job at keeping the net operating budget for 2018 to $6.2 million. To keep it below levels not seen since 2011 that saw an operating budget of $6.5 million is really an achievement! For further in-depth information on the 2018 budget go to the Cavan Monaghan website.
The Millbrook Dam repair project will begin soon with an anticipated completion date in October.
Public Works Director, Wayne Hancock, confirms that this year’s winter maintenance program is “typical” for our area. Last year we got lucky with the weather and this year expenditures are expected to fall within budget at this time.. This summer the Public Works department has a full schedule of infrastructure projects slated to begin in the spring. The watermain replacement and relining of sewer pipes on King Street have eliminated flooding problems in that area, so they will move on to new projects.
Another good news story is that of Waste Management in the Township. Examining the costs since the introduction of Curbside collection, the net benefit is clear! If you take a look at the 5 year period (since 2012), the department has been able to hold steady on the budget, which is quite a feat given the escalation of outside costs during that period from Hydro, gas prices and cost of living increases, which are beyond the department’s control.
On another note, you may have heard in the news that Carillion, a huge infrastructure management company has declared bankruptcy. Here in Ontario they have the contract to provide maintenance to many of Ontario’s highways. In this area they patrol Highways 115, 7A and 7. The province has stated that Carillion has promised to maintain the level of service they now provide.
Each February, Heritage Week is celebrated in Ontario, Feb 19 – 25th.
Heritage week provides a wonderful opportunity for individuals and communities to reflect on their contributions to Ontario; how heritage is conserved, promoted and commemorated. Our own newly amalgamated Municipal Revitalization and Heritage advisory Committee (Once Millbrook Revitalization and Heritage were two separate Committees)are using Heritage week as a vehicle to stimulate awareness of our own local rich heritage. The Committee is awarding 2 awards; one is a Municipal Heritage Recognition Award to recognize an individual or organization who have made changes or updates to their home or business that is in keeping with and sympathetic to the historic integrity of the structure, site or landscape of the property. The award is meant to educate and inspire others in the community to do the same The second award is a Heritage Preservation Award, to an individual or organization who has made a significant contribution to the Preservation/and or awareness of the Natural, Architectural or Archival history of the Township of Cavan Monaghan. Nominations were closed as of Jan 15th and the awards will likely be presented at an upcoming Council meeting, later in February or early March.
As a final note, many will see as you drive along County Road 10, beside the Municipal office, that a sign will have gone up urging residents to support the CMCC (Cavan Monaghan Community Centre) Project in its fundraising efforts. I encourage you all to watch for events and activities that will be promoted through social media and the Millbrook Times for ways to support this worthy effort!
By Tim Belch