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Scugog approves capital budget

DAN CEARNS The Standard

SCUGOG: Scugog council has passed the capital side of their 2020 municipal budget, with projects totaling $11,136,000 dollars. At a meeting on Monday, November 25th, councillors saw the final draft report of their 2020 capital budget which totaled $11,138,000 dollars. However, councillors were able to shave off $2,000 dollars from the budget with changes to a council chambers video overhaul and renovation project. Originally, the project included $2,000 dollars for upgraded monitors and $4,000 dollars to reconfigure Township staff’s desk in council chambers. Ward 3 Councillor Angus Ross made a motion, that was later passed, to swap those items with a project to replace council’s worn down projector and the projector screen. Clerk J.P. Newman estimated this project, which previously was to be included in the operating budget, would cost roughly $4,000 dollars. After trading the two projects for the other one, the township estimated savings at $2,000 dollars. Among the other projects in the capital budget is a number of road projects, $22,000 dollars for rehabilitation of the Palmer Park Splashpad, $40,000 dollars to relocate the finance department to Unit G-1, in the township building, $1.8 million dollars for a detailed design for the new Blackstock Recreation Complex, and $20,000 dollars for the evaluation and design process, for a washroom facility in Palmer Park. The Blackstock Recreation Complex project will only proceed, if the township receives a major grant. At the meeting, the township’s budget process was discussed. Ward 5 Councillor Lance Brown questioned how many residents attended the township’s budget open house and how many comment cards they received from it. Treasurer Dianne Valentim said six residents attended the budget event, with only one resident providing their comments on the budget. Mayor Bobbie Drew noted the public had a chance to provide their comments earlier in the township’s online survey. “Is it possible to do a postmortem on the public feedback, and how much they were actually engaged?” Councillor Ross asked. Treasurer Dianne Valentim said she was open to suggestions on how to make it easier for residents to be engaged in the budget process. CAO Paul Allore suggested holding the open house in council chambers where the township would have the technology to livestream the event. Ward 4 Councillor Deborah Kiezebrink expanded on the CAO’s point, stating people may be more comfortable providing their feedback that way as “it’s not as direct.”

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