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Quinte Conservation finally passes 2012 budget

By Matt Kerr
Courtsey of Quinte Greenspace [1]

Quinte Conservation made changes to their 2012 budget so that it finally passed at their December 15, 2011 executive committee meeting.

This comes after the budget was heavily debated at the November meeting and did not have a chance at passing without further review.

The changes included reducing a 7.8 per cent municipal levy increase from the November version to a two per cent increase for the revised version.

The two biggest changes that were discussed at the previous meeting included funding for a new vehicle acquisition and a new staffing position at their front desk.

Belleville City Councilor Tom Lafferty pointed out a plan to rotate the vehicles.

“I do appreciate the cuts that were made to the budget, it is much more palatable now,” said Lafferty

But Lafferty is still concerned with some of the cuts that are coming out of programs and thinks they should try and make cuts elsewhere.

These include reducing their interpretive hike contract from $26,000 to $10,000.

Other cuts include reducing their Radio Campaign from $30,000 to $10,000. They will also save $500 at their Picton Workshop that is getting ready for a possible demolition in 2012.

Terry Murphy, General Manager at Quinte Conservation made an announcement saying QC will no longer be at the annual symposium at Loyalist College.

“We have been a part of it for several years, we are getting the same people all the time, we are not educating new people,” said Murphy

The conservation authority will also be trying something different next year. It will host a celebration at The Empire Theatre in March instead of returning to the symposium.

Jackie Denyes, who is a Belleville city counselor, had many issues with the budget at the November meeting.

At this meeting she raised the issue of employees using company vehicles for home use.

“What would warrant personal use of a company vehicle?” said Denyes

It turns out that three members of the conservation authority have a grandfather clause with employment equity and can use the vehicles to get to and from home.

With these changes made to the budget, it passed unanimously with no serious discussion.