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Winter costs more in Tyendinaga Township

By Rachel Bell  [1]

BELLEVILLE – It’s going to cost more than expected to keep roads salted in Tyendinaga Township [2] this winter.

The township sets aside $100,000 to salt the roads, and the cost this season has been more expensive then previous years.

Steve Mercer, Chief Administrative Officer [3] of Tyendinaga said they are expected to surpass $100,000 in spending on salt to maintain safe roads for drivers. With winter months still to come, Tyendinaga may need to dip into the reserves account, which is equivalent to a savings account.

“We just see it as it comes. If we do go into a deficit position we can just draw that money out of reserves, and put it into the chequing account.”

In December alone, Mercer said the township spent $35,000, compared to December 2016 where a total of $15,000 was spent for the month.

“There is currently 2.5 million in reserves right now for capital projects, so if we go over $10,000 or so I can pull that amount out of reserves, and hopefully the next year it can be put back in.”

Mercer said the township doesn’t normally get into a deficit position, as they do their best to plan for a worst-case scenario. 

“If you budget on the average, then you can get hit hard. We budget already on worst, so when worst happens it’s really not that problematic except that I can’t put money into reserves that year, whereas most years if we only spend $80,000 on salt I can put $20,000 into reserves.”

Mercer says this has been an unusual year for the township.

“In the salt department we generally budget $100,000, and normally only use about $80,000 worth and therefore are able to take $20,000 at the end of the year and commit them back to capital reserves. So a bad year, like what we’re experiencing this year, (it) just means we use all our budget and don’t have any savings left at the end of the day.”

Mercer explained how going a small amount over budget isn’t the worse-case scenario.

“For 2016 we had spent $117,000 on salt, and we had budgeted $110,000. So although we’re over, it’s not as bad as had we under-budgeted in the first place.”

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