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Mel Mitchell, 20 SR sets up Norcross, Egan budget match

Posted February 17, 2009

Barring unexpected glitches on the road to budget approval scheduled for March 9, tonight will represent the second last opportunity for councillors to settle on a final spending and property taxation package for 2009.

As it currently stands, New Tecumseth's draft municipal budget would impose a levy of $17,055,659, an increase of $250,895 or 1.53 per cent. Of that, 1.06 per cent is for OPP. For the average ratepayer with a home assessed at $255,159, the dollar increase would be $27.66 more than last year.

Long term debt, reserves, development charges, and an $831,077 transfer from the mill rate stablization fund, has kept the projected tax increase to under two per cent, and will finance $18.2 million in capital works projects.

While much of the budget drama is over, tempered this year by the economic climate, two "below the line" projects" remain in play that would increase the levy or draw down on reserves.

One is being championed by Ward 2 councillor Dennis Egan on behalf of Donna Jebb who has requested 20 SR, from 11th to 13th Line, be hard topped at an estimated cost of $386,530 "if throughout the year there is a surplus in the paving budget or there is a really good sale on hard topping."

Ms. Jebb explained to council recently that the rural road west of Cookstown, in its current state jeopardizes agricultural operations including their chicken farm because of the stress put on heavy trucks delivering feed and picking up livestock. It's also used as a detour when Hwy 400 or Hwy 27 are blocked.

"To have the road paved would certainly help with our biosecurity protocols that are in place with the trucks that deliver and also for the trucks that take our harvests from the farm storages," according to Ms. Jebb in a Feb. 13 letter to council. "If the road is hard topped it would show your support for the On Food Safety Assurance Program in place by Chicken Farmers of Ontario and our protocols that we have in place."

During last week's public meeting on the budget, which weather conditions kept Ms. Jebb from attending, Mr. Egan, in her stead suggested, "for a ward that gives so much, and gets so little in return, it's not much to ask."

The other budget item looking for support is Ward 4 councillor Richard Norcross' pitch for a field house at Mel Mitchell, which a report on tonight's working session agenda puts the two-phase build out cost at $331,250 or $125 sq. ft.

Councillor Norcross wants the Town to keep its commitment to Tottenham Soccer and TNT Express Football which pledged to match $50,000 to their $25,000 each for the construction of a facility that includes washrooms, concession, storage and meeting space.

A Mel Mitchell Field House reserve count was established, administered by the Town, which would issue tax receipts for monetary donations. About $40,000 in cash and kind has been raised.

Trouble is, the cost for phase 1 is $225,000 and Mr. Norcross is looking for the Town to pick up the difference.

Tonight's meeting in Alliston begins at 7 pm.

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