The Town of Teulon hosted a public hearing inside council chambers on May 9 to present its 2019 budget and financial plan before it was submitted to the province by May 15.
Teulon mayor Debbie Kozyra delivered a brief synopsis of the financial plan to residents in attendance. Despite the mill rate remaining the same for 2019 at 13.757 mills, a 2.1% increase in taxable assessment has the town budgetting $1,571,976.14 in expenditures, a $136,140.60 increase from its 2018 budget. Last year, the town recorded an operating surplus of $48,734.43.
In her first budget as mayor, Kozyra believes can be fiscally sound with a slight improvement.
“I felt this budget was very fair at holding the line on taxes, but I believe the expenses need more trimming,” she wrote in an email to The Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times.
Out of these expenditures, $366,010 or 23.3% were allocated to General Government Services while $343,260 or 21.8% were reserved for Protective Services.
By far, the largest capital project funded by the town is the $700,000 to be borrowed for the new fire hall located on the south end of Teulon. As well, $130,000 will be taken from the town’s general fund for enhancements to its streets and sidewalks and $47,200 towards breathing apparatuses for the Teulon-Rockwood Fire Department in a cost-splitting agreement with the RM of Rockwood. A Bobcat, a 68-foot angle broom and a 80-foot snow bucket will set Teulon back a combined $50,760.
In General Government Services, $25,000 was budgeted for legal costs due to “a legal matter that we’re in,” according to deputy mayor Michael Ledarney. While no specifics were given by council, it voted 3-2 in their March 12 meeting to seek legal counsel with regards to Kozyra’s election expenses. Last December, Kozyra filed over the $1,500 limit for municipal election and campaign expenses set by the province. She later re-filed with her costs under the limit in February, past the January deadline.
A local resident asked council why the town’s audited financial statements from previous years were not posted on its website, arguing that they should be made accessible to the public. Kozyra replied that council had passed first reading of a motion at their previous council meeting to amend policies and procedures regarding posting documents online. As of May 14, meeting agendas up to March were posted, while there were no meeting minutes posted at all, as well as some documents including audited financial statements.