On Feb. 19, city council approved a $30.7 million budget for Pembroke for 2019. And council did so while keeping the residential tax rate increase below one per cent at 0.78 per cent.
PembrokeMayor Mike LeMay listens intently as city treasurer LeeAnn McIntyre goes over the city’s 2019 budget at a public meeting held on Tuesday night, Feb. 19.
Earlier that same evening, previous to the council meeting where the required budget bylaw approvals were made, a public meeting was held to present the city’s financial plans for the next year. City of Pembroke treasurer LeeAnn McIntyre reviewed the numbers for the benefit of council and the handful of people in the public gallery.Including a 1.5 per cent increase in the water/sewer rate, the combined tax bill for the average residential household assessed at $183,750, including taxes, water and sewer rates, education, trash and recyclable pick up, works out to $4,347, or $32 more than 2018, about a 0.74 per cent overall increase.Multi-residential properties, assuming eight units, will be paying $26,904 or $159 more than last year, with retail (assessed at $212,750) looking at a bill of $10,238 or $75 more.The industrial class will see a property assessed at $184,700 having an all-inclusive municipal bill of $10,868, up $70 from 2018.Other notable changes in the tax rates highlighted by McIntyre are no change in water rates, but a 2.5 per cent increase in sewer rates, a decrease of $9 for garbage collection and disposal, no change in waste recovery fee, and no change in tax ratio with all four classes, residential, multi-residential, commercial and industrial all seeing the .78 per cent tax increase.“I think, especially for this year when we have a new provincial government and the worries we have in regards to grant money, it basically is an excellent budget,” said Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay. “We were able to keep the levy (increase) down to 1.97 (per cent) and we kept the tax rate down below that and we are still able to do a lot of work on roads, on sewers. That (work) is important , we just can’t let our infrastructure suffer. So I think it’s a case of an excellent budget.”
Chairman of Pembroke’s finance committee, Councillor Andrew Plummer, shares his thoughts on the city’s 2019 financial plan during a public meeting about the budget held previous to the council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
Councillor Andrew Plummer, chairman of the finance committee, thanked McIntyre and staff for preparing a workable budget to start with which he said helps council in making decisions about where things stand, where council wants thingsto go, and how they are going to get there.“With a budget of over $30 million here in the city there are a lot of projects that are going to get completed, but as always, there are more wants and needs than there is actual money to go around. We do have to make tough decisions, here at the council table ,” he said.After several years of steadily increasing capital budgets, council had to back off slightly this year on the work it can do in order to balance needs with what the city can realistically afford. The 2019 capital budget is pegged at $13,543,387 down from nearly $20 million last year, but very much in line with the city’s 2016 capital budget.This was mainly because the city won’t be receiving as much help in terms of grants this year from the provincial and federal governments.Of the nearly $14 million capital, roughly $11.4 million is going into roads and infrastructure with $2.01 million dedicated to parks and city facilities and $766,230 going towards equipment and fleet.
Chairman of Pembroke’s operations committee, Deputy Mayor Ron Gervais discusses the complete reconstruction of Victoria Street which is on the city’s 2019 budget at $3.01 million. Gervais called the project ‘significant’ and one that had to proceed this year.
“I think the treasurer has done an excellent job in terms of raising all the different items that are raised in the budget from an operations perspective,” said deputy mayor and chairman of the city’s operations committee Ron Gervais. “We’re going to see significant work happening this year and one of the ones that I see as significant is Victoria Street. That has to proceed. We need to make sure the infrastructure is safe in Pembroke.”That project is the big ticket item in this year’s budget with $3.01 million allocated for the full reconstruction of Victoria Street.Other projects scheduled to proceed are Dunlop Street (Phase 2 – Maple to Cecelia) $190,000, Boundary Road (road and storm sewer stage 2 and 3) $70,928, Pembroke Street West sidewalk installation (Crandall to Jeanne-Lajoie school) $40,000, railing replacement of the Indian River pedestrian bridge $30,000, paving of the Cockburn Parking Lot $75,000, paving of the shoulder on Everett Street $50,000, and removal of the Muskrat River dam $150,000. MacKay Street between Esther and Dickson will undergo a shave and pave operation if the city’s Connecting Link grant application is successful.A number of studies will be undertaken this year as well including rehabilitation design for the Foster Fraser Bridge $71,475, completion of designs for Nelson Street, and a Moffat Street river bank stability study.Some $600,000 is budgeted for several road projects. Lea Street, Thompson (Almira to Horace), Irving (Maple to Fraser), and Maple (Esther to Alfred) are all scheduled for pulverize and pave operations while Everett Street (phase 2 Norman to Bennett) is up for a shave and pave.Under equipment and fleet, the city is purchasing two half ton trucks (ordered in 2018), three half ton trucks (2019), a backhoe $115,000, a combination unit $238,130, a water and sewer service truck $90,000, a tandem dump truck $137,675 and a riding lawnmower $30,000.For parks and facilities there is $50,000 for a shade structure in Lea Street Park, marina basin upgrades and retaining wall evaluation/repair $80,000, Rotary Park tennis courts repair $50,000, waterfront improvements $75,000, and several improvements at Riverside Park $100,000 (fencing, dugout and field improvements at ball diamonds; gazebo; mini golf refurbishment and sewage lift station).The biggest ticket item under water and sewer is digester refurbishment and gas reclamation (phase 1) at the pollution control centre $912,300. Overall about $1.5 million is dedicated to upgrades and work at the pollution control centre. Another $1.3 million is going to replace the Muskrat River watermain crossing at the Mary Street Bridge which is the connection between the west and east ends of the city.Under buildings and facilities infrastructure, the boiler at the Kinsmen Pool will be replaced $35,000, as will the chiller at the Pembroke and Area Community Centre $65,000. The consultation process with the YMCA regarding the Kinsmen Pool will get underway this year. City hall’s foundation will be repointed, the flat roof work started last year will be completed and as many old windows will be replaced as money allows $115,000 and $61,000 respectively. Council chambers will receive new carpeting and an upgraded sound system to allow for the live streaming of meetings.Other building improvements include HVAC upgrades at the operations building $120,000, replacement of the front steps at the senior’s centre $25,000, downtown LED streetlighting (phases 1,2 and 3) $150,000, FOB entry system at the quarry site $37,500, and replacement of three storage sheds on River Road $170,640.“I thought we did really well, and I hope the community is pleased, especially when you look at the different levies surrounding us that are going way up so I think we did quite well this year. I’m proud of council and staff, they really did their due diligence,” LeMay said.Breakdown of $30.7 million budget by per cent *16 per cent – policing costs16 per cent – finance, administration, HR & purchasing14 per cent – operations & roads13 per cent – fire department13 per cent – County of Renfrew & other shared services11 per cent – parks & recreation6 per cent – capital financing5 per cent – garbage & recycling3 per cent – planning, building inspection, bylaw enforcement, animal control1 per cent – taxation1 per cent – economic development and tourism1 per cent – mayor and council*source city of PembrokeDistribution of $1 tax dollar *$0.44 – ‘other’ services (winter maintenance, traffic control and street lights, road, bridge and sidewalk maintenance and repairs, building inspection, property standards and bylaw enforcement, animal control services, maintenance of city buildings and facilities, recreation programs and events, park maintenance and beautification, planning and emergency preparedness, economic development and tourism, and access to the Pembroke Public Library)$0.12 – police service$0.12 – shared services with the County of Renfrew$0.10 – education$0.09 – fire service$0.06 – financing of capital projects$0.05 – garbage collection / disposal fee$0.02 – Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre fee*source city of PembrokeADixon@postmedia.com