To The Editor,
Re: Richard Charest, Letter to Editor, Jan. 29, 2019
While I understand Mr. Charest’s concern that taxes remain reasonable and responsible, I must take him to task on a couple of his points. I too was at the January 22 four-hour long budget submission meeting.
In his letter, Mr. Charest was critical of the cost of a splash pad for Sacha’s Park in L’Orignal, and he compared it to the fundraising for the Vankleek Hill splash pad. The cost brought to the budget table is $139,000. Part of the cost will be offset by a grant of $87,000 which is specifically married to a fully accessible park such as Sacha’s Park. The balance of $52,000 was discussed, and, as stated at the meeting, it is expected that fundraising will take place. This is in-keeping with the history of Sacha’s Park, entirely made possible through an Aviva grant, widespread community fundraising and generously donated land.
I want to mention that there is competition for municipal grant monies, and I congratulate the township for achieving this grant success. This splash pad will have full universal access points unlike Vankleek Hill which is surrounded by grass.
Mr. Charest was critical of the new outdoor rink in L’Orignal Park which is presently costed at $50,000, and again raised comparison with the fundraising experience in Vankleek Hill for its outdoor rink. One plan for the L’Orignal rink has it directly on the grass, no boards and removeable. Yes, fundraising was also mentioned for this rink.
Mr. Charest questions trading-in a 2011 truck with only 140,000 km. Two departments presented their rationale for new vehicles, including rusted out floors and truck beds. When you hear that a township pick-up using chains regularly pulls and hauls accumulated heavy debris from the water and beach at L’Orignal you get a sense of the many uses these vehicles are put to. In a township such as ours, I don’t think mileage is the sole measure.
The purpose of the budget discussions, open to the public, is for councillors and the appropriate department heads to submit information in preparation for final decisions. And to have the ensuing exchange on the public record. Yes, the current total ask sits at 12.3%. Council and staff know this is not feasible, thus the budget parsing, to be followed by the sound of scissors clipping.
Budget submissions continue Monday, February 4 at 4 p.m. with the final two departments of Daycare and Library on the agenda.
Vankleek Hill ON
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