DAN CEARNS The Standard SCUGOG: The 2024 municipal capital budget was presented to Scugog councillors at a meeting on Monday, December 4th.
The 2024 capital budget totals $11,949,400. Some of the notable projects in the budget include the acquisition of an Aerial Pumper Fire Truck at a cost of $1.9 million, splash pad replacement at Palmer Park costing $600,000, a Water Street Rehabilitation project from Scugog Street to Queen Street in the amount of $1.35 million and repairs to the Blackstock Community Hall ($360,000) and the Blackstock Arena ($90,000).
In her presentation, Treasurer Laura Barta described this budget as "a playbook to a successful year." She also stated this budget "focuses on future sustainability" while dealing with inflationary pressures.
Ms. Barta told councillors if their investments in infrastructure don't keep up with inflation, "the infrastructure gap will grow."
In terms of what pressures impact the budget, Ms. Barta listed inflation, staff capacity to work on projects, sustainability and the unpredictability of grant fund availability.
"Municipalities are dealing with some significant external pressures again this year, and they do not seem to be easing," she stated.
In past years, the Township has included special levies in their municipal budget aimed at collecting funds for roads, vehicles and equipment. That practice is expected to continue this year with a proposed three percent road levy and 0.5 percent levies for vehicles and equipment as well as for buildings and facilities. This will bring the total special levies for 2024 to 4 percent.
"The Township's infrastructure is aging and requires a significant amount of work," Ms. Barta said.
Regional Councillor Ian McDougall asked when the special levies will no longer be part of the Township's budget process.
"When we no longer have an infrastructure deficit. That's the short answer," Ms. Barta responded. "Council can elect at any point in time to stop the special levy. However, once that happens, our infrastructure deficit will continue to grow, and we won't have the capacity to do the work that needs to be done."