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Council waiting to wrap up budget

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Town council agreed to reschedule its next budget meeting from March 30 to April 6 as it waits for more information that will impact the 2009 municipal budget.

Treasurer Laurie Witherspoon informed council last night that while the tenders for the new library were opened on March 17, tenders still have to come in for three projects:

•Phase One of the reconstruction of Scott Street from just east of Reid Avenue to Colonization Road East (which will be opened today);

•Phase II of the Heritage Tourism Project (i.e., the relocation of the Hallett and lookout tower) which are due March 31; and

•the Portage Avenue, Nelson Street, and Victoria Avenue truck route upgrade (also due March 31).

As well, Witherspoon is waiting for the province to approve regulations regarding new tax ratios which will be used in calculating a variety of tax scenarios for councillors to consider.

She’s hoping the regulations will be approved by month’s end.

In other budget news, council agreed to move a $348,000 surplus into its reserves.

Witherspoon informed council the town will end 2008 with a $325,000 surplus, including a policing credit of $130,843.

Combined with the 2007 surplus of $23,080, this makes for a surplus of about $348,000.

Mayor Roy Avis noted the town’s reserves should be a little higher than they are, and moving the surplus into that account would be wise.

“I think the last time we looked at our reserves, they are getting low,” he said. “They’re not critically low, [but] I think a municipality our size should have a little more money in reserves.

“My feeling would be we take our surplus from 2007 and 2008 and put it in our reserve.”

Also at last night’s meeting, council:

•referred a request from Abzac Canada-Fort Frances Division to reduce its current tax levy at 840 Fifth St. W. to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation;

•approved a recommendation to make a donation to the “Community Chest” for $240 in response to a letter sent to the town regarding the fundraising social held Friday (March 20);

•passed a bylaw to authorize an agreement for an asbestos survey and management plan with DST Consulting Engineers;

•passed a bylaw to authorize the sale of land located at Eight Street and McIrvine Road to Daryl’s Custom Landscapes Ltd.; and

•agreed to support a resolution from the City of Sault Ste. Mare regarding the positive effect of the Northern Ontario Medical School of Medicine on attracting specialists and specialist services to Northern Ontario in the future.

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