News Local

Alnwick/Haldimand expects budget surplus

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

ALNWICK/HALDIMAND -- There will be a surplus at the end of the year in Alnwick/Haldimand's 2017 budget, predicts finance director Arryn McNichol.

"Every department is within their budget limits," he said in an interview.

At the end of September, each department was well above the 25% remaining to be spent, McNichol explained.

This is the first time in recent years and follows a new system of reporting the status of the township to council monthly.

"This keeps things accountable and transparent to the public as well," he said.

During a presentation to council last Thursday, he itemized the accomplishments achieved through this year's budget on a department-by-department basis.

Through General Government, two plans (Parks Master and Asset Management) are underway, along with records management, plus improvements to the township municipal building including refinishing the council chamber floor, work on the adjoining Immel Wing, plus refinishing the municipal office parking lot in Grafton.

About $1.1-million of the protect service total budget of about $1.7-million has been spent to the end of the third quarter with about $22,000 in the form of a community policing refund put into reserves "for future use," according to the budget report.

The township's highest costing service, transportation, has been spent: about 50% of its $2.3-million budget with building upgrades "a work in progress", as well as the purchase of a $240,000 new tandem truck and an excavator on order.

Two new public works staff were hired this year, the report also notes.

The township has 256 kilometres of surface treated roads, 14 paved, 167 kilometres of gravel and 45 bridges and culverts.

The new bulk water system and high pump lift and re-trimming of pressure reducing valves were completed on the Grafton communal water system this year.

In the township's recreation and cultural services budget about $334,000 of the $465,000 budget has been spent to the end of September. This includes arena projects (dehumidifier, ice re-surfacer and fencing) as well as completing the parging on the exterior of the Fenella Community Centre - but not the washroom renovations for the Alwnick and Centreton community centres which will be done next year.

The development charges study has been completed but the township's Zoning Bylaw update and erosion monitoring survey are outstnding.

"Provided no unforeseen events occur for the rest of 2017, the township will post a surplus," Nichols report states.

Looking ahead to next year, during November, departments will submit budgets for 2018 and there will be a line-by-line review before council on Dec. 4 2017 with the goal of a public budget meeting in Grafton next February.