West Grey looks to adopt infrastructure and community improvement budget

The West Grey 2020 budget is ready for approval following concentrated discussion amongst council to improve our community and invest in important infrastructure programs.

“Budget deliberation is one of the most important tasks council faces each year,” said Mayor Christine Robinson. “Now is the time to invest in West Grey and make strategic investments to ensure we are future ready.”

Council has landed on a 6.64 per cent increase to the tax levy. On average, this represents an addition of about $120 per household for this year.

Budget highlights include:

» $205,000 to save the McQuarrie bridge on Concession 2. The remainder of this $580,000 rehabilitation project will come from federal and provincial grants.

» In total, West Grey has budgeted nearly $500,000 toward bridges for 2020 with more than $275,000 going into reserves should shovel-ready projects receive grant approvals.

» $400,000 for a new four-season grader. This machine will play a critical role in the public works department for road construction, maintenance and snow removal.

» $100,000 from the economic development budget reserves for the Community Improvement Plan, which will be added to $20,000 from Grey County to provide grant-matching programs for West Grey businesses. This investment is a key prong of West Grey’s economic development initiatives.

» West Grey will partner with Grey Highlands to resurface a boundary road, splitting the costs 50/50.

» $150,000 to complete the final surfacing for the Bruce and Lambton Streets project in Durham.

» $12,000 has been budgeted into sustainability initiatives, including a Climate Action Plan and waste diversion projects.

» $560,000 for a new pumper truck for the Neustadt Fire Department. West Grey Fire Department will also see some new turnout gear.

» $75,000 will be put into reserves for a new police station. Also included in the budget, is approval for the purchase of two new police cruisers for the West Grey Police Service.

» Other community improvement projects include: new stairs at the Durham ball diamond; work on a portion of the parking lot at the Ayton arena; increased support for youth training in trades through continued partnership with Launch Pad; support for youth engagement initiatives; several upgrades and maintenance projects at West Grey arenas and facilities; and an investment earmarked for the accessible playground project in Ayton.

The proposed 2020 budget aligns with the three pillars of the West Grey Strategic Vision Plan: work together; build a better future; and promote community.

“We have increased our partnerships, invested in infrastructure, and made key investments to improve our community in West Grey,” said Mayor Robinson. “West Grey is growing, so these investments are incredibly timely.”

A public meeting will be held in council chambers on March 17 at 7 p.m. This meeting will include a report from West Grey’s director of finance and give the public an opportunity to learn more about the 2020 budget.

The budget will come to council for approval on April 7 at 10 a.m.