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Council passes 2000 budget

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Council passed the town’s 2000 budget with no levy increases but it did include a $299,925 net reduction in municipal spending.

Amendments to the “controllable” portion of the budget were in the form of cuts and fee increases. These were needed to compensate for higher “non-controllable” costs, which account for 26.7 percent of the entire municipal budget.

The highest savings will come in the form of staff reductions totalling $160,000.

“We budgeted for staff reductions in that amount. We have not targeted where that will happen at this moment,” CAO Bill Naturkach stressed.

Council’s first option will be to offer severance packages, termed voluntary exit programs, to some town employees. Other areas to be amended include:

•$35,000 reduction in treasury office salaries;

•$28,000 reduction in OPP contracts;

•$22,000 reduction in parks and cemetery staff salaries;

•$14,890 reduction in library operating costs;

•$12,250 revenue from increased garbage tipping fees;

•$12,000 revenue from increased planning fees (re-zoning, letters of compliance, committee of adjustment applications, etc.);

•$,5000 revenue from an increase in cemetery fees;

•a $3725 increase in tax certificate revenue;

•$3,360 reduction in administration office salaries;

•$3,000 reduction in industrial site work; and

•$430 reduction in the cost of parking meter pick-ups.

It took an unusual amount of time to finish this year’s budget because, after years of cutbacks, there is less room to make changes.

“We are really stretched for innovative ways to decrease the ‘controllable’ costs. All those easy items are long gone,” Naturkach had said last week.

Council must now work to implement the amendments to the “controllable” budget by making staff changes and re-organizing fee structures over the next few weeks.

Still, council applauded the budget.

“Our budget consideration for 2000 started in July of 1999 and through a lot of meetings with our management people, in council, and special meetings with the committee of the whole discussing only the budget items, we’ve finally come to a presentation of adoption this evening,” Mayor Glenn Witherspoon remarked.

“For the information of the viewers, the people here this evening, the budget will be at zero percent again,” he said.

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