Municipal projects, new software and summer student hire get pre-budget approval



By Barb McKay


A number of municipal projects and expenditures deemed to be urgent or high priority received pre-budget approval during last Wednesday’s Municipality of Kincardine council meeting.


The items, totalling an estimated $2.08 million, include improvements and repairs to municipal buildings, landfill expansion, new municipal hires and new software. Most of the pre-budget requests will be paid for out of reserve funds with only a small amount to be covered through taxes.


Council members had plenty of questions that they wanted answers to before they were ready to sign off on the requests from department heads. Councillor Gerry Glover wanted to know if the cost for new software for three different departments could be lessened by going through a single vendor. The recreation department is looking to purchase new program registration software, at a cost of $60,000, which would allow residents to register and pay for programs online. The department’s previous software is no longer supported. The software would be paid for with funds from the municipal life-cycle reserves.


Recreation Director Karen Kieffer said the new software will reduce staff time and benefit users.


“The public will love this because they won’t have to hustle to get down to the Davidson Centre before 4:30 p.m.”


The clerk’s department is looking to purchase new agenda software at a cost of $15,000 and community engagement software at a cost of $8,000, to be paid for through life-cycle reserves and taxes.


Kincardine CAO Sharon Chambers responded to Glover’s inquiry, saying that each of the software programs is supported by different vendors.


Staff also sought pre-budget approval to replace the roofs on the Kincardine Centre for the Arts, the Tiverton Library and terminal building at the Kincardine municipal airport, at an approximate combined cost of $407,000. Building and Planning Director Michele Barr asked for approval last week in order to put the work out to tender early in the year.


Councillor Bill Stewart inquired if staff had considered quoting for steel roofs for the buildings. He said the roof on the Lions Club building had been replaced with steel for only a slightly higher cost, and it required less work to install and will last much longer.


Barr said a steel roof is planned for the Arts Centre but would make sense for the airport terminal, as well, because it is exposed to the elements.


Both Glover and Councillor Dave Cuyler questioned if the Tiverton library roof replacement should be deferred because the municipality is considering including it in the new Tiverton community centre when it is built. Barr said the shingles on the roof are curling and the cost to replace them is only about $7,000. The three roofs are being put out to tender as a bundle.


Council agreed to put the projects out to tender, but requested that staff come back to council if the cost for a steel roof for the airport terminal building was substantially higher.


Upgrades to the Bruce Energy Centre (BEC) water tower, at a cost of $250,000, were approved to move ahead and will be paid for out of BEC reserves. A second cell at the waste management centre will go ahead at a cost of $965,000. The cost will be covered through the life-cycle reserve fund and community benefit fund. Chambers said work on the cell began last year.


“We are starting to understand what it costs to keep up infrastructure,” Stewart said. “You can get to $1 million in the blink of an eye. It is costly to keep up infrastructure.”


Council also gave the green light for the final phase of work to the Kincardine lighthouse, which includes window and siding replacement. The work is projected to cost $375,000 and will be paid for through the life-cycle reserve fund.


Public works is looking to add a second summer student to perform maintenance at municipal cemeteries after the municipality decided to handle grass cutting internally. Cuyler questioned if it would make more sense to hire a seasonal employee who would be available for a longer period of time (April to October). He said the work was historically handled by seasonal staff. Mayor Anne Eadie suggested that the municipality hire a summer student for this summer and look into the possibility of hiring a seasonal worker for the following year.