FOR THE GAZETTE
As budget deliberations began at Monday’s regular Council meeting, proposals from Community Care for Seniors, the Prince Edward County Affordable Housing Corporation and LoveSong seniors co-housing project were addressed.
Council is slated to go through four sessions of budget meetings this week that will see members of the Shire Hall horseshoe deliberate on capital and operating budget matters. Monday night saw council approve some motions tied to the 2021 budget. A MacNaughton-Roberts motion council provide operating funds to continue the County Seniors Centre program carried.
The total amount of $25,290 includes $13,450 in cash and up to $11,840 in-kind for use of municipal facilities for the purpose of continuing the mobile County Seniors Centre programs as part of the Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association’s Active Living Centres program. These funds also were pre-approved for the 2022 budget, remaining at the same levels as 2021.
Meanwhile, the LoveSong Corey Street property in Bloomfield, formerly known as Pinecrest Memorial School, was up for deliberation as council voted to not waive outstanding carrying costs or municipal property taxes on the proposed community hub and seniors housing complex. Council did approve a services cost from an institutional reduction to the 5/8-inch domestic water service.
It was proposed that Council direct staff to bill the property at 27 Corey Street at the domestic pipe rates, provided that staff and LoveSong enter into an agreement that outlines both an appropriate payment schedule and program duration.
In other affordable housing initiatives, a transfer of $135,000 from the 2020 affordable housing budget account to the Prince Edward County Affordable Housing Corporation for 2020 operating costs was also approved. Chuck Dowdall, Executive Director of the PEC Affordable Housing Corporation noted since his last deputation in October, the housing corporation is filing an application to CMHC under its co-investment fund for capital funding. This is specific to the redevelopment of the old Wellington Arena on Niles St. into a 36 rental-unit, affordable housing, he said, and its application will be filed by Dec. 31, 2020.
If the funding is approved, he said, it would not cover any operating costs.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Todd Davis, Director of Community Services, Programs and Initiatives, recommended that the ear-marked budget for food insecurity be carried over to the 2021 budget. He said the original County Foundation’s ask to double the $20,000 was deferred last year due to lack of necessity.
“We agreed at the time that it was not the year for that amount of money. I am suggesting that in a year like this year in the pandemic, that the need is much greater for access to food,” Davis said. “We are of a much more insecure community related to food, so my suggestion is that you might want to contemplate a further $20,000.”
After speaking with the president of the County Foundation, he continued, the $20,000 was set aside for food insecurity work this year. Those funds were not accessed because at the beginning of the pandemic, he said, the County Foundation successfully did fundraising and raised an excess of $90,000 to support that program and had no need to use those dollars. “However, as we look towards the first quarter of 2021, the need is going up and certainly the president suggests that there are enough funds to support that program for another six months of work and that they would need some funding in order to move that forward,” Davis explained.
The motion that Council carry over the unspent budget to the 2021 budget was carried. Council is meant to task the CEDC’s Food Security Working Group with recommending to the CEDC and ultimately Council, with how the 2021 budgeted food insecurity funds should be distributed. Council met to go over the 2021 capital needs budget on Tuesday and was expected to delve into the operating budget on Wednesday.
A fourth session for carry over was scheduled for Thursday.