Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative
Taxpayers of the Township of Enniskillen will likely see a three percent increase to the municipal portion of their tax bill.
Township Clerk/Treasurer Duncan McTavish presented a $4,398,600 budget Monday to council which requires $79,320 more in municipal taxes.
While many municipal governments look at increases between five and six per cent, Enniskillen has been able to keep the tax rate down in part because of increased revenues.
The township’s gas tax revenue has increased from $88,700 in 2022 to $92,550 in 2023 and for the first time in a half decade, the amount received from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund will increase by $33,700 to $300,700 this year.
The 2022 surplus of $100,000 will also be invested into the 2023 budget.
Among the capital work to be completed will include work on Rokeby Line at the Bear Creek Bridge at a projected cost of $500,000. This will include moving a section of the road north by the width of one lane while also seeing the construction of swales on both the north and the south side of the road to redirect water into Bear Creek. The waterline is also to be moved so it will not be under the travelled portion of the road.
A portion of Shiloh Line between Tile Yard Road and Marthaville Road was reconstructed in 2022 at a cost of $97,600. There is $450,000 set aside in the 2023 budget to dig up some additional soft spots and do some asphalt work on this section of road.
There is also $70,000 allotted for crack sealing asphalt roads. Part of this work will focus on Rokeby Line from Oil Heritage Road to the Marthaville Road.
McTavish said there would be a large number of drainage projects, which will be completed in 2023. The municipal costs for the drainage assessments have been estimated at $140,000.
A tractor and backhoe are to be traded in and replaced at a cost of $7,000 for the tractor and $21,500 for the backhoe. A roadside mower is also being replaced at a cost of $13,500.
Two safety trailers are to be purchased at a cost of $15,000, which will be placed at locations where there have been road closures or where traffic has to be reduced because of road construction.
Work on the Krall Park washrooms is planned for 2023 at an estimated cost of $330,000. Grants from the federal and provincial governments amount to $222,800. The remaining $97,200 will be funding by the township with $35,000 coming from the park reserve.
Work on the Marthaville Park washroom project has been completed this winter. Therefore the cost of this project is included in this year’s budget. It has been budgeted at $225,000 with a grant from the Trillium Fund covering $218,000.
In the operating budget, there is a three percent increase for wages, as administration payroll has been budgeted at $360,000, an increase from just over $346,000 in 2022. The renewal of the municipal insurance program has seen the premium increase 13 per cent by $6,826 to $59,989.
Policing costs have increased by $11,409 over 2022, while the township will contribute an additional $3,000 to the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority. It’s budget went up 12 per cent this year or about 49 cents for every $100,000 of assessment.
The cost of gravel has increased to $365,000, based on the same amount of gravel and stone used in 2022, while the supply and application of brine has increased to $85,000.
The budget also includes $50,000 for asphalt patching and $30,000 for the shoulders of asphalt roads. Councillor Wally Van Dun questioned whether $30,000 was enough to look after the shoulders of the roads in the township this year.
And while the township is doing road work this year, one councillor says Enniskillen should have a plan in place. Councillor Mary Lynne McCallum suggested $40,000 to $50,000 of last year’s surplus be put into a road reserve, as the township doesn’t have a reserve for roads like it does for water, sewer and streetlights.
“We are doing as much as we can,” said Mayor Kevin Marriott. “We never have enough,” he said adding Enniskillen doesn’t have any debt.
McCallum suggested the township develop a five year plan in regards to its roads. When Marriott indicated these long term plans often change, McCallum shot back, “It’s not in stone or asphalt, it’s a plan.”
The budget is to be approved at council’s next meeting of April 3.