Hawkesbury council met on June 27 for its last regular meeting before taking a break for July and the agenda had several items related to erosion restoration and financial management. 

Shoreline work 

Council has approved a $90,000 budget for shoreline restoration along the Ottawa River around the raw water intake. Erosion has affected the area where water is taken from the river and sent to the filtration plant for purification and then distribution through the municipal water system.

The project was not originally included in the town’s 2022 capital budget and Lascelles Engineering and Associates, the firm responsible for the project, has not yet finalized the restoration plan. The project was originally estimated at $78,055, but due to present economic pressures Environmental Superintendent Martin Perron recommended setting the budget at $90,000. The funds will come from the water treatment reserve fund, which as of December 31, 2021, contained $1,827,933. 

Reallocating reserves 

A by-law was approved by council on June 27 to abolish and reallocate five reserve funds, containing a total value of $83,557.42. The funds had been established in the 1980s and 1990s and a report from Treasurer Philippe Timbers explains research done by the Clerk with former executive employees a few years ago could not determine any reason why the funds existed. Since the late 1990s, the only transactions on each of the funds was the accumulation of annual interest. 

Under the by-law approved by council, the $65,806.54 Desjardins Subdivision reserve fund will be transferred to the planning and development reserve fund. The Subscription Committee reserve fund, which contained $11,862.05, is being reallocated to the recreation programs reserve fund. The $4,128.65 Recreation Subdivision reserve fund is being transferred to the parks reserve fund, and the Industrial Park Reserve, which contained $1,760.18, will be reallocated to the reserve fund for future use related to the industrial park sector. 

Councillor Antonios Tsourounakis said he appreciates the action taken by staff to better manage the reserve funds.  

Surplus allocation 

Hawkesbury council has approved a policy on how to manage future budget operating surpluses. On June 27, council approved the creation of a Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve fund, where operating surpluses will be deposited and used to offset future property tax increases.  

Treasurer Philippe Timbers said the creation of the reserve will allow for stabilization of future increases, especially during the present economic situation of high inflation. 

The policy also gives the treasurer the authority to apply any additional surpluses to finance capital expenditures or other liabilities. However, the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve must be given priority. 

The Town of Hawkesbury had an annual operating surplus of $3,343,774 in 2021. 

Due to the summer break, the next Hawkesbury council meeting will be held on August 15.