Cobourg council hears GRCA levy request

By Cecilia Nasmith

Council got a look at what the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority will require as its share of the agency's 2019 budget at Monday's special council meeting.
GRCA chief administrative officer Linda Laliberte introduced the subject with some background on how they perform their five core functions – watershed management and health monitoring (including flood forecasting and warning, plus source-water protection and monitoring), environmental advisory services (including municipal-planning review and input), watershed stewardship (including public education and tree-planting services), conservation-land management (for various conservation areas as well as the 11-acre Ganaraska Forest and the Ganaraska Forest Centre) and corporate services (largely finance and administration).

Half of these costs come from revenue they generate themselves. Municipal levies cover 43% and the 7% provincial contribution has not changed in about 20 years.

One thing that has changed in recent years is gradual changes to the levies – 2.5% for 2019.

They have also begun capital-asset planning, an exercise of basically setting aside reserves for the timely maintenance and replacement of an estimated 460-plus assets worth almost $11-million.

The $191,613 they estimated would be needed each year seemed onerous, so they created a plan to make do with l$150,088 annually. For the past three years, they have taken this out of their programming budget. As a shortfall resulted, it was decided to incorporate the capital-asset planning amount into their levy.

The GRCA provides services in all or part of seven municipalities, and the area they serve in Cobourg is their second-largest (behind the Municipality of Clarington).

Levies are calculated on a number of criteria, Laliberte said. In Cobourg's case, the request is a proposed levy of $215,794.58 $248,902.89.and a capital-asset levy of $33,108.31 for a total of

In some measure, the figures are preliminary. The 2019 budget Laliberte presented is their preliminary version. As for the town's approval of the levy, that will be a matter for their new council to tackle.

The new council who will serve the next term will be sworn in at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Victoria Hall Concert Hall, at which time co-ordinators' assignments will be announced.