Harsh winter impacts sand/salt budget

A proposal by Mann Construction Group of Guelph to provide the township’s winter sand requirements for $45,000 was accepted by council at the Oct. 14 meeting.

Council also approved using $60,000 from the taxation portion of the capital project to resurface 16th Line/Concession 16 to cover an operating budget shortfall for sanding and salting materials and supplies.

A report from public works director Brad McRoberts indicates the 2014 operating budget for these supplies is $100,000 – of which only $20,428 remains.

“Due to the extreme winter weather in January to March 2014 the budget has been significantly drained,” the report notes. “This budget shortfall does not include the provision of salt to be mixed with the sand, as the township typically provides this separately.”

With the inclusion of salt,  an additional $60,000 is required for the sanding/salting budget for 2014.

McRoberts pointed out a surplus from the 16th Line/Concession 16 project is expected to be in excess of $160,000, of which, $75,000  has already been allocated to an unexpected storm sewer project restoration project in Moorefield.

“This reallocation only addresses the budget shortfall for the sanding/salting budget and does not address the shortfall in the budget as a consequence of the wages for winter maintenance,” noted McRoberts, who stated staff will be recommending that in the future surplus funds from winter maintenance work be placed in a reserve fund to address “the high variability of winter weather on our winter maintenance budget.”

Councillor Mike Downey questioned why the town was faced with a shortfall in budgeting for winter maintenance items when the budget wasn’t passed until April.

Mayor Bruce Whale said that portion of the budget was discussed earlier in the process and was not revised immediately prior to passage.

The recommendation to accept the proposal and transfer funds to cover the shortfall was approved with all in favour.