RM talks financial plan, bridgework, and water at April meeting

RM of Dufferin Reeve George Gray is pleased with all the hard work that went into the 2019 financial plan. (Aaron Wilgosh/Postmedia)

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The council to the Rural Municipality of Dufferin met last week with an open hearing held for the 2019 Financial Plan and with just one person in attendance – to discuss another matter – Reeve George  Gray is pleased with all the work that went into the budget.

“Yes it takes an awful lot of work from people, and I’d like to congratulate the CAO Sharla Murray, who has done a tremendous job of formulating all the plans,” said Gray. “Even with costs rising, we’re able to keep our budget increase to 1.723 per cent over the overall budget, which really identifies the success we’ve had. We’re working with the same kind of money and getting everything taken care of while raising our general reserve at the same time.”

Gray adds the RM is lowering its debt, and at the same time, the mil rate is still much lower than it was six years ago.

“We’re still buying graters, we’re helping build a personal care home, we’ve renovated a bridge, and all these other things, while increasing taxes minimally.”

The 2019 Budget Presentation can be found at the bottom of this story.

 

There was also an open hearing on repairs to Deerhaunt Bridge, west of Carman, which should be reopened in the coming months.

“It’s not quite finished yet and won’t be open for a little while but it came in on the budget we wanted to spend,” said Gray. “It will be good to go for years and the RM is really in good shape for the future.”

Also approved at Tuesday’s meeting was the purchase of new computers for the RM office for a total of $7,207.87.

“It’s an ongoing issue with any office,” he said. “Computers are a fact of life now. I am not a computer geek but I know what computers do for business and workspaces, you have to keep up to date.”

Currently, the RM of Dufferin office is running five computers, four of which will be getting replaced. The office will now have one Laptop Thinkpad E580 $1,000, and four desktops, 1499: PERFDESIGN: I5-8500 at $1,551.95 each.

“We’re replacing them this year and it’s because 2007 Windows will no longer be supported come Jan. 1, the computers we have are about six years old and it’s really just a cost of doing business,” said Gray.

The Rm of Dufferin continues its search of more water for its ratepayers and there are a couple of studies underway being funded by the RM, the Town of Carman, and the Pembina Valley Water Coop.

“There is an awful lot of work being done behind the scenes with committees, of which I sit on them all,” added Gray. “There is a group called Strategic has been hired to do an in-depth study on the viability, the cost, the whole procedure of making the Boyne Valley, or Boyne River Dam, a reality. Are we there yet? No. We have to get an analysis done.”

Strategic is in the process of another study on four different possible sources of water.

“They’re looking into bringing water out of the Assiniboine, most are out of there while some may look at Lake Manitoba, but that’s a stretch,” said Gray. “It’s all in hopes of recharging Stephenfield Lake. Carman, the RM of Dufferin, and the Pembina Valley Water Coop and the irrigators have dedicated funds to fund the study and the studies should come to a conclusion by March of next year.”

Gray knows the final decision will all come down to money, but the need for water in the region is high so options will be weighed.

“We even are looking at the upper reaches of the Stephenfield Lake, there are spots where we might be able to get water into,” Gray finalized. “It’s a slow process. We’re aggressive in our search for more water to fill the needs of our ratepayers and our growth is governed by that lack of water. Whether it is the irrigators, potable water, we need water and we’re working on it.”

2019 Budget Presentation.

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