KAWARTHA LAKES: Earlier this week Kawartha Lakes Council approved the 2017 Capital Budget, and the Operating and Capital budgets for Water and Wastewater. After discussions about the many capital projects required over the next year, and Council’s commitment to long-term financial sustainability, and tax payer affordability, Council voted in budgets that will make maintaining the City’s infrastructure a priority.
“Our decisions on these budgets show we are serious about continuing to close the infrastructure gap, stabilize debt and invest in growth and development. This is what we set out to do two years ago and that trend continues,” commented Mayor Andy Letham.
Capital Budget Highlights
The total Capital Budget is $37,947,901, which includes an additional $2.5 million over last year.
A total of $18.5 million is spent annually on the Roads and Bridges capital program. The 2017 budget invests heavily in roads and buildings, including a 40% increase to the gravel resurfacing program.
Other budget highlights include reinvesting in services and assets that are valued by the community. Two examples include $100,000 to improve the condition of boat launches, and enhancements to a parking lot, serving Lindsay’s downtown core of small businesses.
A new addition to the budget included a refurbishment of the Coboconk Fire Station to accommodate the Paramedic Service and complete necessary upgrades to the building at a cost of $445,000. This decision is in keeping with the City’s intention to consolidate assets and provide service ‘hubs’, while providing a future cost avoidance of approximately $1 million, that would be required to build a new facility for the Fire and Paramedic Services.
Council unanimously supported investing $8 million in a new City office space to house Human Services, and 24 new Affordable Housing units. This project takes advantage of provincial grants, will reduce reliance on third-party leasing for office space, and it is cost neutral to the taxpayer. It also increases the number of affordable housing units, while increasing the City’s capital assets, in an energy-efficient multi-purpose building.
Operating and Capital Water and Wastewater Budget Highlights
The assistance of new grants resulted in a lower than expected average increase of 2.84% for water and wastewater users. The average increase was 4.8% in 2016.
New provincial and federal grants of $1.4 million (Clean Water and Wastewater Fund) and $5.7 million (Small Communities Fund) to support required upgrades to the water and wastewater systems contributed to the good news of lower rates in this budget.
Government funding has been committed over the next 3-4 years. This will help to stabilize our user rates, and ensure the sustainability of our vast infrastructure.
Of the $1.9 million Infrastructure Levy raised, $870,000 will be transferred to the Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Reserves. These reserves are for future needs and unforeseen costs, that may arise for the City’s extensive infrastructure, which includes 21 water systems and 6 sewage treatment plants.
Mary-Anne Dempster, Director of Corporate Services explains, “Staff worked diligently to find cost saving measures across the board for these budgets. We were pleased to bring forward to Council lean budgets, that include new grant funding and an investment back into our infrastructure reserves.”
Council will deliberate the 2017 Operating Budget on December 6th, at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers, and on December 8th at 9 a.m., if required. All are welcome to attend. All documents are available online at the City’s website under City Hall/Departments/Budget and Financial Planning or by following this link:
We reserve the right to remove any and all comments for any reason. Comments with swearing will be deleted without exception.