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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Saugeen Conservation Sets Draft Budget

Grey Bruce | by Robyn Garvey  

Levy increase of 2.5 per cent.

The 2020 Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority Draft Budget has been set.

It is now up to member municipalities to approve or reject.

The 2020 draft budget includes a 2.5% increase on the general levy.

Keeping this levy increase at a minimum says General Manager Wayne Brohman was not without its challenges.

One of the biggest challenges was the cut to Flood Warning and Flood Control grant dollars from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

For twenty years the SCA has received an annual allotment of 157 thousand dollars, in April that was slashed down to 81 thousand dollars.

To offset this 76 thousand dollar loss, while still performing all of the same flood warning and flood control services, Brohman says sacrifices had to be made.

This includes the decision to place the SCA's Agriculture Outreach program on hiatus for a year.

This SCA program provided farmers with education programs on best practices and better ways to utilize their lands.

Revenue generated from an especially busy year of planning and regulation fees along with savings found through efficiencies have also helped offset the Ministry grant dollar loss.

While they were able to mitigate the impact for the 2020 draft budget, moving forward it will not be so simple.

Brohman says if these cuts continue, future budgets will have to dip into Reserves as well as increase the general levy to member municipalities to offset the loss of Ministry funding.

With fears of more cuts on the way, the draft 2020 budget is fairly bare bones with no major capital projects at all, but rather a focus on maintenance, repair and programming.

The 2020 draft budget calls for 1.6 million dollars to be raised through the general levy, a 2.5% increase over the previous year.

Member municipalities have the next month to mull over the numbers and decide whether to accept or reject.

The budget will come before the Saugeen Conservation Authority Board of Directors on December 11th for final approval.

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