Draft capital budget proposes $8.1 million in spending

MINTO – Town council was presented with a draft 2020 capital budget including just over $8.1 million in spending at a special budget meeting on Dec. 10.

Acting CAO Chris Harrow explained staff is breaking with recent practice by presenting the capital budget ahead of the operating budget this year.

“We’re doing capital ahead of operating simply because there’s a lot of changes going on in operating so we need to have a lot more of the year-end figures,” he stated.

Harrow also noted, “The capital one is fairly straightforward this year … a lot of the projects you’ve approved already, simply because you’ve applied for grants and have been successful on a couple of them, which required you to approve before we got into this budget process.”

Roads and drainage, at $4.47 million, take up the largest share of proposed spending, followed by water and sewer at just over $2.66 million, economic development at $492,500, recreation at $230,000, protection and fire at $161,000, administration at $50,000 and building and zoning at $36,000.

Grant funding will cover more than $2.97 million of proposed capital spending, with development charges expected to cover an additional $2.31 million and formula-based Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund providing $160,000.

The spending will require about $900,000 in local tax dollars, with other revenue sources expected to provide a further $383,000.

For the second consecutive year, no new borrowing is planned, noted treasurer Gordon Duff.

“Our debt is coming down, roughly by $1.1 million,” Duff pointed out.

Major projects on the schedule for 2020 include:

– the Arthur Street East Connecting Link project in Harriston at $1.2 million;

– Lawrence Avenue reconstruction in Harriston at $410,000;

– Ann Street reconstruction in Clifford, $515,000;

– replacement of the Brunswick Street bridge in Palmerston for $820,000; and

– $250,000 for design work on a 12th Line culvert reconstruction project.

The proposed budget also includes more than $80,000 in flood mitigation work in Harriston.

Major projects looming further into the five-year capital plan include:

– reconstruction of Main Street in Palmerston;

– a lift station for the Palmerston Industrial Park;

– Whites Road reconstruction;

– Palmerston wastewater facility upgrades; and

– reconstruction of John Street in Harriston.

The 2020 draft budget includes about $15,000 for engineering work on the Main Street project, Harrow pointed out.

“We need to do … a big dig on the Main Street in Palmerston,” he said. “The county has it on its books for roughly 2024-25 somewhere in there… so that’s going to be a huge project that’s going to be on the books, soon.”

The acting CAO also pointed out the Whites Road reconstruction project has been “pushed off and pushed off and pushed off,” but is now becoming more of a priority due to planned expansion at the Royal Terrace long-term care facility.

The prioritization of the Main Street and Whites Road projects are examples of the fluidity required in five-year planning, Harrow explained.

“These are projections, but it can change from year to year,” he stated.

“Because quite frankly we’ve never seen this fast of growth in Minto as we have in the last few years, which is great, but it throws our five-year plan into kind of a mixer and we spin it around and pull it back out again.”

Capital purchases planned in 2020 on local recreation facilities include: new tables for the Clifford Community Hall, tires for the Harriston Olympia, Palmerston ice logos and lobby speakers. All arenas are slated to receive new computers in 2020.

The Palmerston swimming pool is in need of new deck equipment (stairs, guard chairs, railing), the draft budget notes.

In addition, new roofs are needed at the Harriston and Palmerston Train Stations, the underside of the pedestrian bridge in Palmerston Heritage Park is to be inspected and painted, and work remaining at the Palmerston Train Station deck is to be completed.

Clifford fire hall renovations pegged at $100,000 are the largest item in the 2020 capital budget for Minto Fire.

A presentation on the proposed operating budget for 2020 is planned at a special meeting on Jan. 23. The draft budget will be presented at a March 17 public open house.