Municipal tax rate increase is 3.22 per cent

Budget completed in record time

By Barb McKay


Kincardine residents will see a 3.22 per cent increase on the municipal portion of their residential tax bills this year.


It took Kincardine council just one hour during its meeting last Wednesday to mull over the remaining line items to either be included or nixed from the 2013 capital budget. The week prior, council, with help from municipal department heads, managed to sift through the bulk of the budget and come up with priorities for this year.


The impact to the residential tax rate was reduced by decisions to apply for Infrastructure Ontario loans for large scale projects, including the replacement of the heating and cooling system at the municipal administration centre, expected to cost $750,000. The municipality plans to take 2013 to do a thorough examination of the building to come up with an overall plan for repairs and improvements.


Council learned last Wednesday that it will not be receiving Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative capital program funding from the province to construct a leachate treatment facility at the waste management centre.


“The pot is just too small,” said treasurer Roxana Baumann. “There were too many municipalities who applied.”


The facility is estimated to cost $1.75 million to construct. Kincardine has just over $500,000 available in gas tax revenue to put towards the project and mayor Larry Kraemer suggested the rest be financed through an Infrastructure Ontario loan. He argued that the cost of hauling the leachate away ($132,000 annually) until the facility is built would likely cost the municipality more than the interest from the loan. Council instructed public works director Gagan Sandhu to do a cost analysis of taking out a loan versus hauling the leachate until enough funds are raised to construct the treatment facility.


Team Kincardine will not be receiving any money from the municipality this year to move into the former Foodland building. The group, made up of the Penetangore Regional Economic Development Corporation (PREDC), the Kincardine BIA and the Kincardine and District Chamber of Commerce, had asked that council approve its plans to lease space in the downtown building (at $46,000 per year) and complete renovations at a cost of $135,000, including public washrooms.


Councillor Ken Craig said that public washrooms should be attached to a municipally-owned building and should likely be located in the south end of the downtown where the bulk of tourist activity occurs.


Deputy mayor Anne Eadie said that the municipality needs to make a firm decision on the future of the Annex building. Kraemer said that the Annex would be a good fit for Team Kincardine.


“I still believe that the Annex could serve the purpose and vision of Team Kincardine and still benefit the municipality,” he said.


Eadie said the municipality would need to know what the ongoing cost would be of maintaining the building before it could consider that idea.


Plans for the Lions Park splash pad will have to wait a year after council decided it did not have the funds to commit to the project this year. The Kincardine Lions Club had requested the municipality cover 60 per cent of the cost of the splash pad, to be completed over three years. The overall cost is expected to be $625,000, with $401,000 coming from Kincardine, with the bulk of the cost occurring in 2014.


Council agreed to set aside $100,000 in a reserve fund for the project. The funds come off amortization for 2013, rather than being applied to the tax rate. The municipality will also make road improvements at the Davidson Centre and Lions Park a priority for 2014.


“This gives the Lions another year to fundraise and shows that we support it,” Eadie said.


The only addition that was made to the 2013 budget was $7,500 to hire a student to work on the trail system that is proposed to run from Kincardine to Inverhuron.


The residential tax rate increase of 3.22 per cent amounts to $34.98 for the average property valued at $230,000.