In the last budget negotiation of 2020 Members of Champlain Township Council agreed to set aside $150,000 each year until the year 2026 for the restoration of the library, which has a current assessed value of $168,000. Does this seem like a good use of our tax dollars?

As presented to council, in 2019, the total restoration was estimated at approximately $434,500 from EVB Engineering. You may recall, council was delinquent in releasing the report until mid March of 2021. Within that time period of two years there was no information from council to verify whether those costs were still valid. In the interim, $65,000 was spent to replace the brickwork on the east wall of said structure.

The failure on council’s part to do its due diligence, I suspect, contributes to the escalated cost of $75,000 over the budgetary forecast of $150,000 and once again the details are not being publicly disclosed. The question we must all ask is “Whose money is it anyway?” Simple answer “IT’S YOURS”, so you should be informed on how your tax dollars are spent.

Furthermore, it’s quite conceivable with current inflation at 4.7%, and other factors, such as the supply chain delays, consideration on the continuing work on the library will potentially impact the estimated costs and council deliberation on the upcoming budget for years in the future.

We were also enlightened in 2020 the Vankleek Hill arena repair estimates were $800,000. Recently disclosed the new dollar figure to effect necessary upgrades has risen to $1 million and the township would be applying for funding assistance. Note: The application request submitted in 2020 was rejected. What is the likelihood this application will have a favourable response?

The reluctance in addressing these issues in a timely fashion contributes to the deterioration of facilities and our infrastructures within Champlain and resulting in higher tax levies.

As ratepayers we have a duty to hold council accountable with our dollars and YOU should be LOUD and CLEAR in voicing concern. If we fail to do so, WE have no one else to blame.

Jim Walsh