Snowy sidewalks hot topic at Cornwallis Square AGM
BY NANCY KELLY
Kings County Register
The May 22 annual meeting of the Village of Cornwallis Square marked the 60th anniversary of the community’s original village commission.
Chairman George Foote, who has served as a commissioner for half of the past 60 years, brought attention to the occasion in his opening remarks at the meeting held at the Waterville firehall. In 1947, the WCG Commission serviced the communities of Waterville, Cambridge and Grafton. The commission’s named was changed to Cornwallis Square in the 1960s with the addition of Woodville. The commission provides fire protection, recreation and sidewalk services for area residents and businesses.
Fewer than 20 electors were on hand for the meeting, during which funding for a new fire rescue vehicle was approved, as was a motion to begin collection of an outside fire rate.
In 2007/ 08, area rates for fire, recreation and sidewalk service will remain unchanged at eight cents for $100 of assessment, one cent and one cent respectively. A new outside fire service rate of 4.5 cents was approved and is expected to raise $20,985 in the year ahead. The village will work within balanced budgets of $385,429 for fire protection, $25,000 for sidewalk maintenance and $21,000 for recreation.
With a nominal increase in property assessment, area ratepayers will be paying more for services. Foote says the village budget was drafted mainly to cover the costs of inflation. “Everything costs more these days and it is a challenge to keep up with that and keep tax rates unchanged,” explained Foote.
Two big expenses are on the horizon. The first is the purchase of a new fire rescue unit, which will cost the village $200,000 after the Waterville Fire Department pays its half. The department’s 15-year-old unit was recently sold to the Antigonish Fire Department for $60,000 and department officials are hopeful the newly-established outside rate and the annual auction will help pay down the debt.
The village is also considering taking over maintenance of its network of sidewalks in the coming year. Last year, just over $13,000 was spent on contract snow removal services and commissioners agree the time has come to invest those funds in village-owned equipment. A total of $14,000 has been budgeted for snow removal and sanding in 2007/ 08. Foote says the commission has not made any firm decisions, but is leaning towards shifting the annual sidewalk maintenance funds into an equipment purchase loan and payment to allow for in-house maintenance. A sidewalk machine will cost between $60,000 and $80,000.
Foote also hopes the village will expand its sidewalk system south on Cambridge Mountain Road from Highway 1 in the coming year. While the village is not in line to receive any infrastructure money from the federal gas tax rebate fund, Foote says Kings County may soon take over the responsibility for sidewalk construction and maintenance. This, he says, will result in “a dramatic switch,” and could see the county paying considerably more and the village less for respective shares of sidewalk work.
Two commissioners were returned to the organization for additional three-year terms. Roy Quartermain will continue to represent Cambridge, as will Simon Holleman for Grafton. Foote and Waterville representative Stuart Johnstone round out the four-person commission.