SCUGOG: Council approved the capital side of their 2017 budget at a meeting on Monday, Nov. 28. The total capital budget expenditures amount to about $9.8 million. This includes $8,152,000 in roads projects, $720,000 for vehicles and equipment, $433,000 for building and facility maintenance and $355,000 for bridge work among other projects.
Once again, Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back attempted to get the $10,000 Birdseye Pool bird water feature replacement removed from the budget.
“I just think there are other pressing concerns on the budget, and the fact that we have very hard water in this town, we have maybe a three year life span and then they won’t work again, and then you will have another three birds that need to be fixed,” she said.
Ward 1 Councillor Betty Somerville agreed that the birds should be removed from the budget. “$10,000 to me seems like a lot of money to fix some birds,” she said.
However, Mayor Tom Rowett reiterated his stance about dealing with the broken equipment now. “I do think that we should be tackling getting these birds repaired, so that it is not an item that reflects on the Township,” he said.
Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew said she agreed with the Mayor.
“I think if we have a facility, we need to keep it up. It is a bad reflection on the Township when we have things that just don’t work,” she said.
Councillor Back made a motion to have the bird feature replacement removed from the 2017 budget, but she did not see enough support around the council table for the motion to pass, and the project remained in the budget.
As well, Councillor Drew questioned if all of the roads projects in the budget were chosen from the Township’s top priority list.
“Are all of these projects the top priorities from the roads needs study?” she asked.
Glen Smith, the Township’s director of community services responded, stating the Township had a long list of road priority projects to choose from.
“I would say that we are in the neighbourhood of about $125 million that are number ones. So what we looked at were where there was some synergy or opportunities because when you have 100 number ones, where do you start? In essence, these meet the criteria, but we have another 75 or 80 number ones as well,” he said.