$1.45-million reconstruction of Chesterville Queen St. among SDG 2018 budget highlights

United Counties of SDG headquarters on Pitt Street, Cornwall. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

$1.55-million rehab of Crysler bridge also budgeted as residents set to pay 1.8% more

CORNWALL — The average home will pay about 1.8 percent more to the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG) in 2018, under draft budgetary figures presented to SDG Council Dec. 4.

The estimated “inflationary” hike on the Counties portion of the property-tax bill amounts to $22 for the “average” SDG house valued at $212,000.

But perhaps North Dundas residents can feel a tad better about digging deeper for SDG’s inflated take in 2018: The budget proposes to spend almost 40 percent of the sum allocated for Counties’ capital road and bridge work — a whopping $6.579-million — in their township this year.

The upper-tier municipal government — recipient of the single biggest slice of residents’ tripartite property-tax bill — has completed its review of the draft budget figures several months earlier than in previous years.

“Once again … Council has achieved a balance between providing necessary services and affordability, said SDG Warden Jim Bancroft, expressing pride at the completion of an “ambitious” four-year capital plan during this term of office. The plan ensures that “SDG’s vital transportation network is second to none in Ontario,” according to Bancroft. “We have achieved this in the face of declining provincial assistance and without taking on any debt.  In fact, SDG remains debt free, a testament to the wisdom and foresight of not only this Council, but all those who came before us”.

The residential property class accounts for 75 percent of tax revenue collected by the United Counties, which currently holds reserves of about $13 million.

The 2018 budget includes all direct SDG expenditures as well as the estimated cost of services provided to the Counties by the City of Cornwall, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, as well as other external providers.

Several factors — both positive and negative — have influenced the budget, according to a press release from SDG headquarters on Pitt St. These included:

  • A $345,000 reduction in policing costs the Counties attributes to an overall reduction in call volumes and to what it describes as “positive reconciliations” in 2015 and 2016;
  • Strong new assessment growth across the SDG;
  • The loss of $236,000 in provincial funding through the OMPF, a decrease of 15 percent from 2017.

The Counties government also touts planned new investments in tourism marketing and Information Technology resources — the latter intended to bring better IT services to both Pitt St. and SDG’s six lower-tier municipalities.

Capital roads and bridge projects

In 2018, SDG plans to spend about $16.7-million on capital road and bridge projects to complete a four-year capital plan. Highlights include the $1.45-million reconstruction of Chesterville Queen St. (aka County Rd. 37, which runs between Main St. North and County Rd. 43) and the $1.55-million rehabilitation of the Crysler bridge. The full work list includes: 

North Dundas

  • SDG 3 from SDG 38 to Inkerman – $294,000
  • SDG 3 from north limit Winchester to Thompson Rd. – $946,000
  • SDG 3 from SDG 31 to west limits Winchester – $308,000
  • SDG 7 along boundary to curve to Marionville – $238,000
  • SDG 7 from Marionville to Gregoire St. – $74,000
  • SDG 31 from SDG 38/43 to Winchester Springs – $1.292 million
  • SDG 38 from SDG 31 to SDG 3 – $954,000
  • SDG 37 reconstruction, Chesterville – $1.450 million
  • Mountain Bridge rehabilitation – $677,000
  • Marionville Bridge rehabilitation – $346,000

South Dundas

  • SDG 8 from SDG 41 to SDG 28 – $476,000
  • SDG 31 from Williamsburg (south limit) to Tollgate Rd. – $104,000
  • SDG 4 at Mariatown – $620,000

North Stormont

  • Swale Bridge rehabilitation – $840,000
  • SDG 43 from Monkland to SDG 20 – $1.293 million
  • Berwick Bridge rehabilitation – $510,000
  • Crysler Bridge rehabilitation – $1.550 million
  • SDG 12 through Berwick – $404,000
  • SDG 22 design work – $150,000

South Stormont

  • SDG 44 from SDG 42 to South Glengarry boundary – $691,000
  • SDG 2, Long Sault – $50,000
  • SDG 36 from Simcoe St. to Woodland Villa – $70,000

North Glengarry

  • Maxville Storm sewer and paving – $505,000

South Glengarry

  • SDG 18 from St. Raphael’s to SDG 19 – $442,000
  • SDG 27 from SDG 19 to SDG 17 – $588,000
  • SDG 27 from SDG 17 to SDG 18 – $195,000
  • SDG 23 from Hwy. 401 to SDG 18 – $1.713-million

In all, SDG will spend almost $23 million maintaining and enhancing its road and bridge infrastructure in 2018. The transportation budget, along with policing, health and social services, accounts for 85 percent of all SDG expenditures.

And those expenditures come with less help from the province. Toronto’s financial support to SDG has declined by almost $10 million over the last 10 years.

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