This evening West Nipissing council has a date to delve into the 2022 municipal budget, and municipal staff have created a handy workbook to help chaperone the proceedings.
The workbook serves as a guide for council to help usher along the budget process. “This year’s budget deliberation will differ from how we’ve done things historically,” explained West Nipissing’s chief administrative officer, Jay Barbeau.
“We have tailored this year’s budget to present the information in a more concise and simplified format,” so as to streamline proceedings. “Last year we held nine special budget meetings,” Barbeau reminded council, which “was obviously excessive and frustrating to most in attendance.”
The main attraction of this year’s budget is that there is a revenue shortfall of $431,603, which represents a 2.37 per cent increase as a starting point. Nothing is final yet, these are just starting points as mentioned in the workbook.
One of the main issues driving up municipal costs is insurance which has increased by 18 per cent in 2022, a “hard market” staff explained. However, the municipality “has a good claim record and management is participating in risk assessment processes” to perhaps bring down the $175,400 price tag.
A long list of infrastructure projects is included in the capital budget as well, and throughout the year the municipality will be updating its Asset Management Plan and revise the Roads Needs Study. The total cost of these projects amounts to $3,539,518, and although many are stretched out over a few years, all of these projects remain on the books, and may be subject to change as per council’s budget decisions.
Facility projects are also up for discussion, including garage repairs and a new office for public works that has a $300,000 price tag. Town Hall HVAC upgrades are estimated at $190,000, upgrades to the pool could cost $120,000, and overall, there is just over one million allocated for community services.
Last year, the total revenue for the municipality was $29,090,263. As per staff projections, this year’s revenue will come in at $31,103,270, but expenses will surpass that figure at $31,534,873. With $431,603 to make the difference, council will have to make some decisions, and the budget workbook will help guide the way.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.