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Thursday, April 18, 2013

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Greater Napanee

Council finalizes budget, tax hike pending BY ASHLEY FOLEY Staff Reporter

Greater Napanee council tentatively approved the 2013 budget last Thursday night, with an increase to the average property tax bill in store for ratepayers. Urban residents will see an average $47.39 annual increase, while rural residents will see a $32.49 increase. Chief Administrative Officer Ray Callery said council is faced with an “extremely tight fiscal

year,” and has been faced with making a number of tough financial decisions. A member of the public addressed council, stating he has seen a number of tax increases in his short time living in Napanee and hopes it does not continue that way in the future. “I’ve been living in Napanee for about six or seven years now. My taxes have gone up more than 25 per cent in that time. My pay has gone up three per cent,” he said, partway through council’s budget discussions.

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“I know you’re doing the best that you can, it’s just something I wanted to come here tonight and say,” he continued. Councillor Mike Schenk moved that council approve a 2.9 per cent increase (a $47.39 urban increase and a $32.49 rural increase), which was carried unanimously by council. The 2013 operating budget levy increase of $244,395 (2.9 per cent) will show a revenue increase of $156,418, providing a $17,712,842 total operating budget. A projected surplus of $1,500,060 from 2012 was shown. Council plans to use these funds in five different ways. The operating budget will receive $450,000, while the capital budget will receive $700,000. The assessment appeal reserve will topped up with $275,000 and two programs will receive the remaining funds. The physician recruitment program, will receive $60,000 from the surplus. The Street Smarts Program will receive $15,000. Council is expected to formally ratify the budget at their next regular meeting this Tuesday night.

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Grant requests cut to $12,000 BY ASHLEY FOLEY Staff Reporter

Town of Greater Napanee council held a special budget meeting on Thursday and part of that meeting dealt with grant allocation. Council had more than $131,400 in grant requests, but ultimately elected to hand out $12,000. Council decided to support the Allan Macpherson House, the United Empire Loyalist Association, the Loyalist Parkway Association, Deseronto Transit and Loyalist College. “The Loyalist Parkway Association, we have a commitment there. We have a yearly commitment, it’s a signed document,” stated Mayor Gordon Schermerhorn, confirming the first grant budget item to be supported. That grant amounted to $1,500. The contribution to Loyalist College brought out some concerns at council, however. The organization asked for $100,000 in financial support. Council approved $2,000 for the college. “I have had conversations with Loyalist College as recent as this week in

regards to their request. They understand it’s a significant amount of money, they understand the financial situation. They want me to relay to council that they do hope they will get some support so they can say the community itself is behind them. They’re willing to support any type of funding to bring us in with their partnership,” explained Raymond Callery, town chief administrative officer. Schermerhorn said he felt obligated to assist the neighbouring educational institution. “If it’s going to help them get grant money from the province, if we needed a couple thousand dollars from someone to help them get more grants, we’d certainly appreciate the help. That’s just my personal opinion,” he said. Deputy Mayor Roger Cole agreed, stating he felt council should support post-secondary education, especially since so many NDSS graduates pursue studies there. “We’re supporting one of our educational institutions so I think $2,000 is fair,” said Cole.

Councillor Shaune Lucas disagreed, stating the municipality should not favour one post-secondary educational institution over the other, especially since Napanee finds itself between two colleges at which many local graduates pursue studies. Council also went back and forth on whether it should support the Macpherson House again this year. Some felt since a request was not put in for the $5,000 grant received in the past, the organization should not be considered again this year. Others brought up the fact that Lennox and Addington County has discussed taking over the organization. In the end, since the county has not taken over the Allan Macpherson House, council decided to support the organization with $5,000 again this year. Schermerhorn said, “We always do $5,000” for United Empire Loyalists, which council agreed to support again this year. The final grant item was $1,000 for Deseronto Transit.

More Budget coverage on Page 12

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Napanee Beaver Apr 18 2013  
Napanee Beaver Apr 18 2013  
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