Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2012 Town and Region Budgets Approved

Both Pelham Council and Regional Council have adopted early budgets for 2012.

You will recall that a capital budget acquires, builds, or rehabilitates major infrastructure or equipment with a long life. Such capital assets include municipal facilities and buildings, trucks and vehicles, roads and bridges and sidewalks, and water/sewage pipes and plants.

The operating budget controls “day-to-day” expenditures such as salaries, wages, benefits, heat, hydro, and routine maintenance of buildings and infrastructure.

Rates budgets fund special services like water, waste water, and waste management. Not everyone across Pelham or the Region receives these services, and Provincial rules demand separate water and waste water budgets.

On Thursday, December 1, Regional Council adopted your entire Regional Budget for 2012 – including the Capital, Operating, and Rate budgets. Not only does this +$750 million budget include the work of Departments like Public Works, Public Health, Community Services, Integrated Community Planning, and Corporate Services, it also includes budgets for outside agencies like Niagara Regional Housing, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Niagara Economic Development, and Niagara Regional Police Service.

This is the earliest in recent memory for the Operating, Rates, and Agency portion of the Region’s Budget! I am especially pleased with this, not only because it means we can start issuing capital project tenders and concentrate on finding efficiencies, but also because I had the honour of Chairing the
Region’s Budget for 2012.

Then, on Monday, December 5, Pelham Council adopted your 2012 Pelham Capital Budget. Pelham’s Capital budget will continue to improve the community:
• Regional Road #20: work together with Region on the reconstruction from Rice Road to Station Street – including new sidewalk (north side), streetlighting, and water / waste water improvements;
• Downtown Fonthill: “fine tune” and complete streetscaping;
• Downtown Fenwick: complete redesign plans, review structural integrity of historic flagpole, and earmark revitalization funds in future years;
• Investments in Recreation & Culture: including replacing Harold Black Park Soccer shelters, installing new bleachers and develop detailed design for Phase 2 & 3 of master plan for Centennial Park, and develop a Cultural Master Plan;
• Concession and kitchen improvements to Arena;
• Continue renovations and renewal of historic Old Pelham Town Hall;
• Fire Service enhancements: start two-year process of replacing all SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus), and also begin schedule of replacing bunker gear;
• Retrofit and improve Cherry Ridge Subdivision Storm Water Management Pond;
• Finally, develop a Master Plan for the Town’s 32 acres at Rice Road and RR#20.

Your 2012 Budgets will continue our Town’s revitalization and our Region’s service and enhancements.