By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Cobourg council approved its 2024 budget at their Jan. 31 meeting, effecting a 9.91% increase over 2023 that adjusts to an 8.06% net increase after allowing for new assessment growth of 1.85%.
This finalizes the proposed $11,024,488 capital budget and $30,944,896 operating budget.
Mayor Lucas Cleveland had several motions before the vote that passed the budget, none of which affected budget totals but one of which will affect future budget deliberations.
The community grant process will change significantly for future years, from the current process of inviting applicants to make submissions to a process of budgeting a set amount and making allocations in a different way.
Cleveland’s motion called for staff to bring forward a report to council on setting up individual memoranda of understanding with each applicant that can last for a given number of years – three years seemed to be the preferred option – and be referred to in setting grant amounts if any.
Several councillors argued that this was not exactly the ideal time and place to change the process, having put out the call for submissions for the 2024 budget in the usual way and called a special meeting for them to make their presentations. But in the end, Cleveland’s motion passed.
And one of the mayor’s motions that was defeated may make a comeback for 2025 – to institute a 1% dedicated levy to support the town’s asset-management planning to reduce the shortfall in reserves and infrastructure savings.
It’s not the levy itself that did not get support, but the timing. As Councillor Aaron Burchat said, future asset-management discussions are slated and it might be better to get a more fulsome picture of the matter first.