Two per cent tax hike proposed for city

ment, Fitzpatrick said. I’d like to think we are constantly review- ing what’s best for the corporation.” Adams said administration managed to achieve the two per cent tax hike without cutting any services, although a summer camp run by the social services depart- ment was axed during the process. “The reality is we came into a relatively tight budget right out of the gate. The list (from which to cut) now is really becoming quite a bit smaller,” she told council mem- bers. The city should be in good shape again for next year’s budget process because of an anticipated increase in commercial tax revenue. The new Target distribution cen- tre alone is expected to bring an additional $1 million a year in tax revenue. It is ex- pected to launch operations at the begin- ning of next year. The budget still must go to full council for approval. Councillor Andre Rivette stressed that the public should be notified of the budget approval meeting for the sake of “trans- parency”. He also worried councillors may not have enough to adequately discuss the docu- ment at its upcoming regular meeting on March 27. Fitzpatrick said the budget will likely be passed at a yet to be scheduled special meeting of council. Follow @gkielec on Twitter. For breaking news, go to and click on The Journal. Email curred in the project. But Norm Levac, city public works manager, said the city is “pretty safe” with the tender. Levac said “timing is perhaps the most significant factor”in the tender coming in cheaper than originally anticipated, namely less-than-robust economy. He said city en- vironmental division manager Morris Mc- Cormick and his team also “fine tuned” the plant’s plans to maximize every inch to get “very affordable pricing.” Not much work out there. Maurice and team fine tuned – maximized every inch. Trying to make most affordable to get ‘very affordable pricing’ The successful bidder is a joint venture comprising the firms of Graham Construc- tion and Engineering LP and Jardeg Con- struction Services Ltd. Work will begin this spring and it is expected to take two years to complete. chief of fire and EMS. The changes take effect on April 2. Mayor Bob Kilger said that an ever in- creasing workload on the one chief had become too demanding. He said the decision to return to the pre- vious structure at fire and EMS will en- sure proper leadership and management at these two important municipal depart- ments. GREATER LEVEL OF SERVICE “This reorganization will result in a greater level of service being provided to the public and the staff of both opera- tions,” added Kilger. “We want to ensure that our community receives the highest level of service possi- ble when it comes to these important op- erations.”

By Greg Kielec Cornwall city council’s budget commit- tee has given its blessing to a $53.9 mil- lion budget which will see the average ratepayer pay $47.12 more this year. The committee arrived at the two per cent increase at a meeting Friday morning at city hall after a round of new cuts by city departments in light of reduced provincial funding. “It’s important to stress that every de- partment came forward, with savings,” said Maureen Adams, city general man- ager of financial services, speaking to the budget committee this morning. But she said more severe cuts would have been need to meet the tax target if not for $400,000 from last year’s surplus and a $550,000 refund from its private health in- surance provider which was applied to the 2013 budget. Mayor Bob Kilger said the city was fortu- nate to have a windfall to achieve the tax target, “but that’s not going to happen every year.” “I think we all realize it’s not going to get easier,” he said. It will be “very challeng- ing” to continue offering the same level of services. He said the two per cent rate hike “is a re- sponsible number” and to achieve the tar- Average homeowner in Cornwall to pay $47 more this year

Photo by Greg Kielec Maureen Adams, right, general manager of financial services for Cornwall, listens to discussion during Friday morning’s budget committee meeting Friday morning. The committee endorsed a two per cent tax hike for this year.

plus at the end of the year.” Thibault also suggested the city begin re- ducing the cost of employee salaries and benefits through attrition “as we try to work smarter in the future.” The city would not slash existing jobs but could opt not to replace retiring non-essential staff. The city is already conducting a depart- mental review to examine staffing levels, Fitzpatrick said. But even now, the city does not automatically fill vacant positions unless the position is justified by manage- It is the largest contract ever awarded in the city’s history. Cornwall city council selected a $49-mil- lion tender from Graham Construction and Engineering to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant at a special meeting last Wednesday. Because the tender came in cheaper than expected, city administration will be work- ing with Graham Construction to add deleted items back into the project. City public works manager Norm Levac couldn’t guarantee the city would get its original wishlist of items back into the proj- ect, “but I think we are going to get very close.” Councillor Andre Rivette was worried that adding the extra work “will put us be- hind the eight ball” if cost overruns are in- The city of Cornwall is reorganizing its fire services and emergency medical services departments to have chief po- sitions at the helms of both operations, thei city has announced. Cornwall city council has approved a re- structuring that will see Chief Myles Cas- sidy reassigned as chief of EMS, while the city’s Deputy Fire Chief Richard McCul- lough has been appointed acting fire chief. News of the reorganization came after an in-camera session last Wednesday after- noon during a special meeting to award a contract for a new city waste waster treat- ment plant. Previously, Chief Cassidy served as To the editor: The Journal

get without cuts to services “is quite an achievement”. Councillor Denis Thibault appeared to strike a nerve when he appeared to sug- gest the city has budgeted for surpluses in- stead striking break-even budgets. He said if the city has never had a deficit, maybe there is room “to tighten up” its budget- ing. City chief administrative officer Paul Fitz- patrick flatly denied the suggestion.-”I can assure you we don’t budget to have a sur-

Council awards waste plant contract

Image courtesy of City of Cornwall This graphic provided by the city of Cornwall shows what a new secondary waste water treatment plant planned for Cornwall will look like. The city awarded a $49-million tender for the project to Graham Construction and Engineering last Wednesday. EARN A CHANCE TO WIN A 500 $ GIFT CERTIFICATE WITH ANY REPAIR FROM JANUARY 1 ST TOMARCH 31 ST *Seestore fordetails. Specializing in... • Wheel alignments • Shock & Struts • Brakes - Tune Ups • Fuel Injection • Radiator Flush/Fill • Oil Changes • Safety Inspections / Diagnostics Morin Tire & Alignment Centre A L I G N M EN T $ 6 9 9 5 Much More Than Just Tires... RELIABLEANDAFFORDABLESERVICEFOR15YEARS! 1403 Rosemount Ave. Cornwall ON K6J 3E5 613 932-3840

City re-establishes fire chief position

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