With COVID-19, and unknown future finances, Minden Hills Coun. Bob Carter wants the township to take a “very careful, sober” look at what to do with its $900,000-plus budget surplus from last year.
CAO-treasurer Lorrie Blanchard tabled a report to the May 14 committee-of-the-whole meeting, outlining the unspent funds. On May 28, she said money might be needed for refurbishment at the township office since it is moving the building, bylaw and planning department upstairs, and the clerks department downstairs.
Director of public works, Travis Wilson, also came cap-in-hand. He said with possible stimulus money coming from the provincial and federal governments post-pandemic, the township should complete its asset management plan. That way, he said they would be ready with reports on the condition of infrastructure, need, rationalization, and costs, for shove-lready projects for possible funding.
He said both Scotch Line and Blairhampton roads would be perfect candidates.
“Both of those roads are pretty much our busiest roads outside of the village of Minden, and are such large-scale projects that they usually never make it to a draft budget,” Wilson said. “They are discussed then included as a general note in the budget reports. They never actually end up being budgeted for.”
He said other road work could include Wigamog, Tom Bolton, Bacon and Russell roads.
Coun. Pam Sayne asked about boat ramps, saying some are in pretty bad condition, particularly one on Gull Lake she said is eating away at the edges of the road.
Carter supported the main recommendation of parking the money is capital reserves for now. He said when it came to a list of projects, “if we’re going to be looking at applying that money to these types of projects, I really think we should do almost like a new budget and determine what moneys we are going to have, and what projects should go into that budget.”
He added, “I think with COVID, things are very much still in the air. We don’t know what the financial health of the total area is going to be over this next little while. Money might be better spent or utilized by reducing taxes or whatever. I guess all I am saying is there are so many unknowns.”