Landfill closure digs big hole in Enniskillen budget

Petrolia's landfill is set to close in June. Enniskillen received over $350,000 in landfill royalties last year which will disappear in 2017.

Enniskillen’s budget is about to take a big hit as Waste Management closes its Petrolia site.

The municipality is the host of the site and has been receiving royalties from the garbage dumped there since it opened. In the last few years, that revenue declined to about $260,000 in 2014.

But as the company tried to fill up the site last year, the royalties soared to just over $352,000.

Early this year, the company announced it would close the site completely in June. Administrators in the township are expecting about $150,000 in revenue during the 2016 fiscal year before it disappears completely.

“It’s going to hurt in 2017,” says Mayor Kevin Marriott.

The reduced royalties is just one pressure facing the township as it goes into budget deliberations. Enniskillen’s budget is just $2.86 million. This year the provincial government has again reduced its funding by $107,000. That means in the last three years, the township needed to make up for $700,000 in lost provincial funding.

Marriott says that’s been tough to do. This year, he says, council has increased the deductible on the township’s insurance policy to cut premium costs. And there won’t be quite as much roadwork this year. The township plans to pave Tile Yard Road between Petrolia’s town limit and Rokeby Line as well as Oil Springs Line between Marthaville and Tile Yard Road. Those two projects will cost about $360,000.

The township also plans to buy a new $300,000 road grader.

That all translates into about $148,000 more in this year’s budget – a 9.8 per cent tax increase.

Marriott says when the county and education tax levies are factored in, landowners will only see their property tax bill go up 4.33 per cent.

But he believes that’s still too high. “Our  average homeowner who works in town and the farmer are both feeling increased pressures of costs,” he says, “but were doing every thing we can to keep it down considering what were handed.”

While Marriott and his council will carefully review the budget in the coming weeks, the mayor is resigned to the fact the township will have a tax increase beyond the rate of inflation in a community which has had some of the lowest taxes in Lambton County.

“Instead of being in the lower end of the county were going to be in the median range of the county for tax,” he says.

“There is no magic out there.”