January 16, 2020
Since my last update we have finalized the budget and it is my pleasure to provide these quarterly updates to the residents of Puslinch.
Although we passed the budget with a 3.32 percent increase, a full one percent was for Asset Management which I will get into later.
Also, as a result of my Notice of Motion to support The Director of Public Works’ desire to create an individual budget line for tree cutting, this budget line was approved at $20,000, thus bringing the total to 3.32 percent.
During the campaign, I heard that trees were of a great concern to many residents. The Director’s opinion was that we needed a company with a bucket truck to manage our trees. I have been informed that the budget amount will represent close to 12 days of crews cutting trees starting in late April or May.
I expect after three-four years of this program everyone will see an improvement in the safety of our roads.
Mary Hasan is our Director of Finance and she has worked extremely hard on a Province of Ontario mandated Asset Management Plan (AMP).
I feel it is necessary to educate the tax payers on how hard Mary and all of our staff are working for us and doing a tremendous job. Bravo!!
The AMP is a plan to manage and maintain all of our assets. We need to predict when each and every asset will need replacing and have the financial resources available at the appropriate times.
For fiscal year 2018 the Township had a surplus. This money was put into an Asset Management reserve. It is my intention that with these significant contributions to the reserve, we won’t see an effect on the tax levy in the future specifically for the AMP.
During the Public information meeting regarding assets, two items were brought to Council’s attention.
The first being paving gravel roads, the second was that Old Morriston Park’s ball diamond lights were not part of the AMP.
I must point out it is an Asset Management plan not an Asset Abandonment Plan!
All of Council has heard the concern about the gravel roads. We are committed to developing a plan to deal with this issue. The cost of a full reconstruction to paved surface can be $250,000 per kilometer.
The Township doesn’t have these resources. We are however, willing to investigate surface treatment options. Surface treatment, I have been told doesn’t constitute “re-construction” and thus the requirements may be lower providing a more financially acceptable avenue.
The first stage is hiring a consultant to study our roads and report back which roads are suitable for surface treatment. Council understands that public input has a significant role to play on determining this. Let’s wait and see what the report brings us.
As for the lack of the Morriston lights in the AMP, this was a great concern for the residents of Morriston. This is also contrary to the Parks Master Plan, which states that the Township requires two lit diamonds to service the needs of the community.
I look forward to finalizing the AMP with these lights included in the future forecast for replacement.
In April we will be saying goodbye to our Director of Public Works. I wish Don Creed a long and healthy retirement.
Every municipality is struggling to hire department heads and retain the staff we have. It is a very competitive market especially for us, being situated so close to larger municipalities.
We have amazing staff that work so very hard. Please know that these people could go work somewhere else with half the workload.
The Province keeps mandating new programs and requirements on municipalities. However, they don’t recognize that not all municipalities are equal.
Each and every person in that office fills a crucial role and we are fortunate to have such great people working for Puslinch.
I am very pleased with the 2019 Budget. For the typical Puslinch residence of $593,250 the increase represents a $31.96 annual increase respectively.
James Seeley, Mayor