The Municipality of Central Elgin has started it's annual initial budget planning
talks on Monday, December 2nd, 2019 at 450 Sunset Drive in the Elgin County Administration
Building. At the start Mr. Leitch commented that the intent for today was to give
Council a walkthrough of the proposed 2020 budget. It's a work in progress with
information still being added to the budget. We wanted some feedback from Council
on the format of the budget going electronic, an initiative from the Environmental
Advisory Committee trying to cut down on paper if Council's agreeable.
Ramona Nordemann - Central Elgin's Director of Finance and Treasurer began the meeting
introducing Council to the new paperless xl file format accessible by computer.
This year it took a little longer to get into the finer details of the budget because
of a format change to paperless, but in this day and age going paperless is one
of those better ideas that for this process will save several boxes of paper.
Once Council began prioritizing projects, programs and service levels based on anticipated
revenue and expenses, it became clear that this year the struggle to keep tax increases
to a minimum would be more difficult job than in previous years mostly due to previous
commitments for improvements on existing infrastructure.
Perhaps one of the most significant increases that will take place sooner or later
for residents of Central Elgin would be the water meter upgrade, a project in the
water budget that has an estimated cost of $1,500,000. According to Lloyd Perrin
- Director of Asset Management/Development and Facility Services, the old water
meters overtime produce anywhere from a 5% to 20% less accurate metered consumption
reading that results in a significant revenue loss for Central Elgin. These water
meter upgrades were recommended in the recent water rates study and are due to be
replaced. When these water meters do get replaced, a new round of water and sewage
rate increases that could take place might be offset by a phrase-in adjustment period
to help consumers adjust to increases in actual water consumption used.
Because this was an introduction to this years budget and this process is still
on-going, all projected spending was just being discussed and prioritized to give a baseline to
the Finance Department as to what could be in the first round of 2020 Budget deliberations
scheduled for January 26, 2020.