The proposed 2019 Budget was shared during the Town of Vermilion’s Council Meeting on December 4. The presentation delivered by CAO, George Rogers, included highlights of the operating budget, tax rates, assessment, staffing, capital budget, budget summary, and initiatives for the coming year. A large expected cost will be the new Wastewater Treatment Plant. The $19 million project will be partially funded by provincial and federal grants. According to the proposed budget, the increased wastewater costs will be eased in over 2 years and are expected to begin mid-2020. “The new Wastewater Treatment Plant is much more expensive, but it was necessary in order to meet a new provincial standard,” said Rogers. In regards to solid waste, there was an overall decrease of $52,049; and in regards to the recycling program Derek Young said, “The people have done a fantastic job of utilizing this system.” “We’re putting less refuse into the landfill and looking at the ability of a compost program next year. Mr. Young and his team are to be commended for that,” said Rogers. He noted that the growth in assessment was less than one per cent in 2018, and added, “We need bricks and mortar to keep things running in this community.” One of the initiatives for 2019 will be for Economic Development to continue marketing the commercial/industrial lots. It was noted that council members will be taking a cut as the federal government is removing the one third tax exemption as of January 1. Other expected costs include a $1.3 million ladder fire truck, and a Broadband Project. The Broadband Project will see $30,000 come from reserves, and $275,000 from a municipal sustainability initiative (MSI) grant. “We know this utility is a need in order to keep our communities viable. Currently there is a digital divide between urban and rural centres,” said Councillor Robert Pulyk. Initiative for 2019 include the completion of the Municipal Development Plan, an Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks (ICF) agreement with the County of Vermilion River to establish regional cooperation, an Inter-municipal Development Plan (tentative), ongoing emergency management training, completion of the Land Use Bylaw, ongoing development expropriation court case, and continued efforts by economic development to increase growth. The Town of Vermilion provisional operating budget was balanced with both expenses and revenue showing $15,566,100 including a two percent tax increase. Their capital program totals $22.54 million funded by grants, debentures, donations, and reserves.