ABCA sends yearly budget to member municipalities with reduction in dollars due to COVID-19

(Blackburn News file photo)

The Board of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority has sent out a proposed budget for next year to its member municipalities.

General Manager, Brian Horner, explains the municipalities have to be given at least 30 days to look over the proposed budget before it can come back to the board for approval.

In the past few years, member municipalities have asked the ABCA board to cap their increase at two per cent and the board has done that. But Horner says this year is different.

He says this year they’re suggesting a slight reduction in their proposed levy.

“This year, we’ve actually got a slight reduction in our proposed levy. It’s a .53 per cent roughly and it’s about 75-hundred dollars less than the combined general and project levy from last year.”

Huron says the board felt the budget should reflect the current situation and COVID-19 is a new experience for everyone and they have no idea how it will continue to affect municipalities.

“We realize that we’re in some uncharted times here with COVID. We don’t know how is it going to affect municipalities. We had a five-year forecast and we had some bigger projects that were in there and we kind of looked at it and said ‘do we really need to do these right now?’ and the consensus on some of these was no.”

Horner does point out, he cautioned the board that those projects will eventually have to get done but this year isn’t the time.

The member municipalities now have up to thirty days to review the proposed budget and send it back to the board for approval.