Counties still holding down tax hike


Statut quo pour le mode de scrutin Lors de la rencontre du conseil de ville de Hawkesbury du 14 novembre, la greffière a informé le conseil d’un nouveau mode de scrutin permit par le gouvernement de l’Ontario. Ce mode de scrutin, plus complexe, offrirait aux citoyens de placer leur vote par préférence en faisant plus d’un choix pour ensuite passer à différente ronde de vote. Le conseiller Michel Thibodeau a toute suite demander de passer au vote afin de garder le mode de scrutin à l’an- cienne, disant que ce nouveau mode de scrutin amènerait un plus grand fardeau administratif. Le conseil a voté à l’unanimité de rester avec le mode de scrutin traditionnel. – Maxime Myre Next year’s budget for the counties will hold fast at a two per cent tax increase but it involves a bit of a juggling act for some spending priorities. Stéphane Parisien, chief administrator for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR), presented the mayors on counties council with five pages of proposed cuts and “nickle-and-dime” tweeks to the 2017 budget, tomake sure that priority items get covered while still keeping the tax rate hike at two per cent. “We’re at two, right on the money,” Pari- sien told council during its Nov. 9 committee of the whole session. Several of the proposed revisions to the budget include reducing the original $240,000 allocation for maintenance work on the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail (PRRT) to $100,000 for next year.That change will allow counties council to add another $10,000 to the annual allocation of support for Services communautaires de Prescott- Russell Community Services (SCPRCS).The regional non-profit social service agency has received $30,000 in support funding from the counties in the past, but the SCPRCS sent a request for $40,000 in support funds for the coming year, because of recent increases in demands for its various services. Mayor François St-Amour expressed his support for the SCPRCS request. He added that there is also a need for a Limoges-based satellite office of the agency. The remaining $130,000 taken from the PRRT allocation for 2017 will go towards the UCPR public works budget, to ensure particular road improvement projects, like the one planned for County Road 23, go ahead as scheduled in 2017. Parisien told counties council that admi- nistration nowneeds to know if there are any further directives between now and when the budget comes up for final reading later in the year. He noted that getting budget approval before the end of 2016means that public works and other departments can start right away on tender calls. “So we can be early out of the gate with our proposals,” Parisien said. The counties has enjoyed cost savings in the past on construction and supply contracts through tender calls issued early in the year, becausemany companies will post lower bids so they can have confirmed work orders for their outfits after the spring thaw.

Le président des CUPR, Guy Desjardins, ainsi que ses collègues étudient la dernière révision du budget proposé pour 2017. Les révisions proposées au budget comprennent, entre autres, la réduction de l’allocation initiale de 240 000 $ pour les travaux d’entretien du sentier récréatif de Prescott-Russell à 100 000 $ pour l’année prochaine. —photo Gregg Chamberlain

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