Lambton County Councillors will consider a proposed 2.43% net increase to the County property tax levy when they meet to discuss the 2018 Draft County budget early next month. The draft budget calls for $75.2 million to be raised through local property taxes, supporting proposed expenditures of $213.4 million.
Spending $20.3 million on 51 capital projects is proposed, including:
* The third year of upgrades committed to under the 10 year, $40 million Social Housing Capital Plan.
* Possible rehabilitation of the Bear Creek and Shashawandah bridges.
* Programmed replacement of vehicles, including two ambulances.
* Rehabilitation of County Roads #2 (Bentpath Line), #22 (London Line), and #8 (Inwood Road).
* Changes to the office layout of the County Administration Building.
The 2018 Draft County budget also calls for $5.7 million to be directed towards various reserves and reserve funds, which are used to finance large, necessary projects that may arise in the future or to pay for unexpected emergencies.
Four external organizations are seeking grants from Lambton County Council in 2018:
* The Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital Foundation is seeking $1,050,000 in multi-year funding to assist it with acquiring a new X-Ray Suite for Diagnostic Imaging.
* Community Living Sarnia-Lambton is seeking funding of $45,000 to be used to purchase a 2017/18 Dodge Caravan with side-access or rear-entry wheelchair ramp.
* The Deker Bauer Foundation for Suicide Prevention is seeking $80,674 in temporary operational funding
* Sarnia-Lambton Crime Stoppers is requesting $13,000 in operational funding
In addition the Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership and Tourism Sarnia Lambton have requested Council to consider increases to their annual funding in the amounts of $300,000 and $35,000 respectively.
Lambton County Council has also had one item referred to its budget deliberations this year: investigating, in partnership with relevant community stakeholders, the cost of engaging a consultant to undertake a market analysis and feasibility study for a potential multi-use convention centre in the Sarnia/Point Edward area at an estimated cost of $50,000.
Neither the cost of funding the Council grant requests nor the matters referred to budget have been included in the Draft Budget.
Budget deliberations are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., Wednesday, March 7, 2018 and will continue at 9 a.m., Thursday, March 22, if required. Deliberations are also scheduled to be streamed live and made available for archival viewing through the County's website, LambtonOnline.ca.