/Fifth round for MH budget discussions

Fifth round for MH budget discussions

By Chad Ingram

Minden Hills councillors will enter a rare fifth round of budget deliberations, that discussion scheduled to take place during council’s regular meeting on Feb. 25.

Council held its fourth round of discussions on the township’s 2021 budget during a special meeting on Feb. 16.

Councillors continue to discuss what staffing positions will be required in 2021, particularly at the township’s new arena and recreational complex, which is hoped will open this spring and for ice-related activities this fall. Money for an economic development officer was removed from the draft budget, the township’s previous economic development officer resigning last fall, and with the upper tier of the County of Haliburton creating an economic development position with its 2021 budget.

Staff was also instructed to bring back scenarios, both including and excluding the reconstruction of Bobcaygeon Road, which had been included in the fourth round of the draft budget. The draft budget also includes millions of dollars in borrowing to complete capital projects, and both councillors Bob Carter and Pam Sayne have expressed concern about relying too heavily on large debentures.

During the third round of budget discussions, Carter said he’d also like to see consideration for waiving outstanding penalties and interest on outstanding, water and sewer bills, etc., amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but that idea was ultimately not approved by council.

The fourth draft of the budget represented a 3.46 per cent increase over the 2020 tax levy.