The Final Chapter Continued - The Joke's On Us
We have seen how in the previous chapters how just a simple policy direction can
fuel tax increases over a long period of time, but what about those tiny little
charges for things that don't have to get done, but get done anyway. These charges
all add up to something that your friendly politician will vote for that still adds
up to increases in your taxes sooner or later.
In recent budget talks several items were on the table that really were not necessary
but were on someone's wish list. One item that seemed to be a very hot topic of a
lengthy discussion was the burying of hydro lines on the north side of Sparta Line
in the Village of Sparta.
The public first became aware of this project at the
Regular Meeting Of Council On Monday, March 11, 2019 from Eleanor Robson,
who was in attendance as a delegation to discuss possible burying of hydro lines
on the north side of Sparta Line in the Village of Sparta.
She was representing the parties who are affected by the possible burying of the
hydro lines and elimination of the the 3 hydro poles on the north side of the Sparta
line in the heart of the village. She said that there will never be another opportunity
like this with the road being torn up for the reconstruction of the Sparta Beautification
project. She also indicated that the affected parties would not be able to financially
support any related costs for this project due to some of the worst financial times
in recent years.
Lloyd Perrin indicated that this project had been discussed with Hydro One two years
ago where they were not interested in burying the hydro lines. A more recent conversation
with Hydro One indicated that this project could be done but that an estimated cost
of $200,000 to bury 160 metres of power cable for this project would be the responsibility
of the Municipality.
Mr. Leitch also indicated that this project is also to be considered in the budget.
Eleanor Robson also indicated that the additional funding for the eight secondary
services affected from the new underground service to the building would not be
available due to financial hardship in the area. The project would be considered
later in the budget deliberations.
By the time that Budget Talks started the estimated price tag for this project had
at least doubled and even that price didn't include costs for all the secondary
connections for each individual service that would be needed for the transition
from overhead to underground services. At the final Budget meeting I know there
was some intense discussion concerning the high cost of this project that was now
approximately $400,000 and would benefit only eight businesses. This item can be
viewed on page 6 of the ENVIRONMENTAL/HEALTH SERVICES DEPARTMENT Proposed Operating
and Capital Budgets - 2019 Capital Projects - Street Lighting - Underground Hydro
Infrastructure (in conjunction with Sparta Historical Lighting at $185,000). Funding
for the entire project seems to be funded from reserves, the item is located in
the same document on page 8 - 585,000 - Street Lighting Reserve for lights & Tax
Rate - Stabilization Reserve for underground hydro burial, which includes funding
for lights and underground hydro burial.
The final cost to taxpayers for this project will become available after it's done
as the project is scheduled to be done before road improvements are completed in the area. Just
this one single item in the budget represents spending of almost half of the total %6.56 tax
increase that was adopted in the last day of Budget Talks.