DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Mayor Tom Rowett updated Scugog Chamber members and members of the Scugog community on Scugog council’s accomplishments in 2017, and forecast his last year as Mayor at a luncheon event, on Thursday, January 25th.
In November, council approved a 2018 capital budget of about $5.3 million.
Mayor Rowett said one of the things this council has done differently, than previous Scugog councils, is that they have separated the capital and operating budget processes, with the capital side being approved first.
“Ideally, it would be nice to have the whole budget done in November, but you need to have the final numbers from your operational side,” Mayor Rowett said.
The mayor also complimented the work Township staff do.
“All the staff in the Township work tirelessly. They work extended hours, and as much as you might hear in the community that public sector workers have got cushy jobs with pensions etcetera, I can tell you that this staff works so hard,” he said. “I feel truly honoured that they have chosen to be at Scugog Township.”
The Township’s 2018 operating budget will be presented to council, at a meeting on Monday, February 12th. There will then be an operating budget open house, on Wednesday, February 21st, at 6:30 p.m., at the Scugog Memorial Public Library.
“We want the feedback from the public, the more public engagement we have the better,” Mayor Rowett said.
On the topic of the state of the Township’s roads, Mayor Rowett stressed the need for additional funds from the other levels of government.
“Our roads' deficit, in the Township, is upwards of $200 million. That’s what I’m always telling [MPP Granville Anderson], saying we need funds,” shared the Mayor.
In September, council decided to adopt a new winter maintenance policy, to alter the hours of the night shift and to prioritize the Township’s snow clearing efforts on the Township’s roads, giving greater efforts to high priority roads, while reducing efforts on lower priority ones.
“I have not heard any negative reports from residents that the change in service has affected, negatively, their road clearing. I think it was a great success that these were changed with minimal impact to the residents, but what it has done is that it has saved a considerable amount of money,” Mayor Rowett said.
As well, Mayor Rowett told those in attendance the Township is still “going through the process” on their Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan.
In November, council reached a service agreement with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to receive an annual fixed fee of $874,620, starting in 2018. The fee, according to a Township report, is to be “indexed annually, by the greater of 1.5 per cent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the immediate prior year.” This agreement replaced a previous revenue sharing agreement the Township had with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island, who managed the Great Blue Heron Casino, until OLG took over the role, in September, 2016. Mayor Rowett said the Township is still negotiating with the Mississaugas on a similar service agreement.
To wrap up his address, Mayor Rowett said he has been “very proud” to have had the opportunity to serve his community as mayor.
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