County budget is looking good – for now

By Cecilia Nasmith

As of the end of the second quarter of this fiscal year, treasurer Glenn Dees reported to county council this week, Northumberland is doing well at being on-budget.

It's a total annual cash budget of $114.6-million, Dees pointed out, with only a few items currently in a deficit position – like the $211,000 transportation-supplies shortfall due to the first part of the year being more demanding on road salt than in a typical season.

Eliminating the bulky-waste voucher, they had thought, would increase tipping fees. However, this item is currently in an $88,000 shortfall compared to what was budgeted – though bag-tag sales are $93,000 higher than forecast,

Of more concern in the waste division is the $80,000 shortfall in budgeted sales from the Material Recovery Facility. This budget item was calculated on prior years' figures, but world-wide economic uncertainty has taken its toll since then.

Largely due to falling provincial support, the Business Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland and economic-development department is in a $75,000 deficit position.

Then there's the unexpected $118,000 in emergency repairs to a waste rock truck and transportation grader.

These are more than offset by other divisions, and a couple of surprise items like $114,000 in cannabis funding and a $175,000 settlement after the county purchased defective refrigerators,

Looking ahead, Dees pointed out that debentures will be issued for work on the Brighton landfill and the construction of the Roseneath Emergency Services base.

Inflationary pressures continue to be a concern, Dees said, especially with such looming projects as the Golden Plough Lodge rebuild and work on the Campbellford bridge. Then there's also the uncertainty surrounding provincial funding. Although reductions planned for 2019 were deferred to 2020, Dees said, there were exceptions – a $107,000 impact on Ontario Works, $50,000 on the BECN and $93,000 on the Golden Plough Lodge, As well, the province's recalculation of paramedics funding continues to pend and, for now, is holding at a level based on 2018 funding.