Enniskillen Township raises its fire levy by 10 per cent
By Blake Ellis, Local Journalism Initiative ReporterHeadlines News firefighting levy
May 4, 2023, Enniskillen, Ont. – The Township of Enniskillen council approved a $550,000 portion for its fire fighting levy at its meeting March 6. Township Clerk/Treasurer Duncan McTavish recommended the Council raise its levy this year from $500,000 to $550,000 to allow the municipality build up its reserves in preparation for more equipment and vehicle replacements in the coming years.
Enniskillen Township’s combined portion for both departments operating expenses is just over $320,000. The Oil Springs and South Enniskillen Fire Department is proposing an increase of $23,307 to its budget, said McTavish. Enniskillen’s portion of the levy would increase from $113,523 to $131,703, an increase of $18,180. This is largely due to an increase in the payments to firefighters and an increase to dispatch costs, said McTavish. The proposed budget for the Petrolia and North Enniskillen Fire Department will see Enniskillen’s portion increase by $23,200, to $188,956.
Enniskillen’s capital portion for the new pumper truck for the Oil Springs and South Enniskillen Fire Department at cost of $402,400 will be in the 2023 budget, as the truck was delivered last January. The township’s portion for capital expenses in the Petrolia and North Enniskillen Fire Department is estimated at $70,800.
The management committee of the Petrolia and North Enniskillen Fire Department approved going to tender at its Feb. 28 meeting for new washrooms at the fire hall. Councillor Wally Van Dun, who represents Enniskillen on the committee, said the original plan was to renovate the washrooms four years ago at a cost of $30,000. Now the estimated cost has doubled to $60,000. If the tender turned out to be over $60,000, it is to come back to the committee and in all likelihood, the plan would be scrapped and the department would go as is, said Van Dun.
The plan is to have an accessible washroom with showers on the ground floor of the fire hall. Van Dun said the accessibility of the washrooms is needed if the fire hall will continue to be open to the public for such events as tours and the junior firefighter program.
A deficit of between $48,000 and $72,000 is anticipated in the fire department reserves at the end of 2023, due to capital expenditures approved by both departments. The washroom renovations are being included, so if this project doesn’t go ahead, Enniskillen would not spend $28,000, which would be the township’s portion on a $60,000 project.
McTavish said the Petrolia Fire Chief Jay Arnes at the Feb. 28 meeting also argued for the purchase of a $1.3 million combined tanker-pumper. The committee asked him to put his idea in writing for its review.
“We were not going to bring that to our council,” said Van Dun. “We just stopped it right there.”
McTavish said the idea got dropped on the committee without any prior warning. The tanker, which is to be replaced won’t be until 2025, he said.
Mayor Kevin Marriott said a tanker truck would probably come in at a cost of $450,000.
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