Proposed 2024 Amherstburg Budget Invests In Waterfront Development, Recreation And Transportation Infrastructure

A multimillion-dollar investment in the Duffy’s property, a multi-use trail on Middle Side Road, improvements to King’s Navy Yard Park, money for Co-An Park and new courts at the Libro Centre, and more than $3 million for transportation infrastructure projects are part of a capital works program exceeding $13 million in the proposed 2024 Amherstburg Budget.

The draft Budget also includes money to groom the hill at the Libro for leisure activities, a new sidewalk on Pickering Street to connect to a new LCBO, the milling and paving of Alma Street, a million-dollar pumping station for Lakewood, a small fire hall for Boblo Island, water treatment plant upgrades, seven new vehicles including a fire ladder truck, money for a crossing guard study, and engineering work that will pave the way for the reconstruction of the south end of Fryer Street and Concession Road 5 North.

The old Duffy's sign is seen framed between two trees.

The five-year Capital Budget, which lays out projects in principle that would still have to be approved in their respective Budget years, totals $64,354,912, including the $13,327,712 earmarked for 2024.

For 2025, those projects include: $500,000 for a BMX/Skate pump track at the Libro, $350,000 for the redevelopment of Malden Park, $275,000 for new trails at Jack Purdie Park, $100,000 for a basketball key at Pat Thrasher Park, $2.9 million for the reconstruction of Concession Road 8 from Alma to County Road 10 and $2.1 million for the reconstruction of Fryer from Lowes Side Road to Pickering.

The proposed 2004 Budget of $61,743,962 represents a $3,163,245 levy increase from 2023, requiring a tax increase of $76.06 per $100,000 of assessment. That translates into a $190.14 annual increase to a home valued at $250,000, or $3.66 per week. In percentage terms, that’s a 7.13 per cent increase over 2023. A portion of that – 1.6 per cent or $453,600 – is benchmark money previously approved by Council to help ensure the Town’s aging infrastructure can be maintained and replaced. Another portion – 0.77 per cent – is to pay down new debt.

It’s important to note this Budget is only proposed at this point and that a public consultation period is underway. There was a Budget Open House at the Libro Centre Tuesday night, which was attended by a group of passionate Pickleball players keen to play on new courts at the Libro. 

Residents have until December 18th to complete a survey on Talk The Burg. You can also email me your thoughts or give me a call at 519-981-4875. Budget deliberations will take place in the New Year, on January 15, January 16 and, if necessary, January 17.

Pickleball players at the Budget Open House at the LibroThe Budget documents, available for review on Talk The Burg, emphasize that the Town is facing significant inflationary pressures, especially considering it implemented a 3 per cent increase last year, the lowest in the region and one that was significantly lower than inflation. The next lowest were Lakeshore and Tecumseh at 3.75 per cent and 3.86 per cent. Essex came in at 3.91 per cent, Windsor was 4.48 per cent and Kingsville’s increase was 4. 8 per cent.

The Consumer Price Index was 6.77 per cent in 2022, up from 3.47 per cent the year before and just .65 per cent in 2020. The construction index was 13.01 per cent in 2022 and 15.34 the year before compared to 2.19 per cent and 2.91 per cent in the two years prior. The combined rate was 9.89 per cent last year and 9.41 per cent the year before.

Of the $3,163,236 in new spending proposed for 2024, 61 per cent is for contractual and in-year commitments, 14 per cent is to fund our Asset Management Plan to ensure safe and lasting infrastructure, seven per cent is to pay for new debt, 33 per cent is for costs like drainage and funding our Community Improvement Plan. Six per cent is for new positions requested by Administration.

Those new positions include:

  • Part-time HR administrator ($28,719 Budget impact)
  • Full-time Executive Assistant for Parks, Facilities, Recreation and Culture ($120,251 Budget impact)
  • Part-time special events coordinator (Zero Budget impact)
  • Part-time Recreation Coordination (one year only – $26,179 Budget impact)
  • Full Time Fleet Mechanic ($61,800 Budget impact)

Players on the baseball field beneath the lights with the LIbro Centre in the backgroundThe Budget documents illustrate the importance of growth in broadening the tax base and the importance of development charges, which can be used to partially fund capital projects that benefit the municipality as a whole.

The proposed 2024 Budget includes assessment growth of $99.9 million, which generates $1.14 million in municipal revenue. About 90 per cent of our assessment is still residential and the need for continued commercial and industrial growth persists.

Money collected through development charges is being used to fund about $2 million worth of projects in the 2024 Budget, including $464,000 for a small fire hall to house a fire truck on Boblo Island. As well, $320,000 is going toward our fleet replacement program and $581,000 is going toward the Duffy’s property.

The Budget includes funding to ensure we can continue to grow in an orderly fashion and attract more than just residential development. There is $200,000 to support the recommendations that will be coming in our Transportation Master Plan, there is $56,000 for a Development Charges study, $50,000 for Howard Park Industrial District Implementation Studies and $50,000 for an Environmental Assessment for the McGregor Lagoon expansion – a requisite for future development in the area.

The largest capital expenditure in the 2024 Budget has already been approved by Council -- $3,060,000 for the shoreline stabilization and grading work that will finally allow us to tear down the fence and restore public access to the Duffy’s property. Considerably more will have to be spent to realize the vision of a bustling transient marina with an extended pier for fishing, but it is the beginning of something that could be truly spectacular.

Other significant capital expenditures include:

Parks and Recreation:

  • Libro Tennis/Pickleball Courts -- $450,000 ($350,000 Budget Impact)
  • King’s Navy Yard Park Improvements -- $150,000 (New fence and base for Provincial Marine Statue)
  • Co-An Park Improvements -- $129,500 (Combined with Essex, there will now be $400,000 for park improvements, potentially a new playground.)
  • Libro Hill Grooming -- $25,000 (Open the west side of the hill up for leisure activities including the potential for sledding in the winter subject to approval by the Town’s insurer)
  • Libro Master Plan and Park Master Update and Sports Needs Study -- $200,000 (Envision future amenities at Libro and examine recreational needs now and for the future.)

Transportation Infrastructure:

  • Mill and Pave Program -- $900,000 (2.6 km of Alma from Meloche to 5th Concession South)
  • Multi-Use Trail on Middle Side Road in McGregor $350,000 (Town share = $210,000)
  • Bridge and Culvert Replacement and Rehabilitation Program -- $1,050,000
    • Culvert No. 45 – Concession Road 6 North over Sinasac Drain -- $450,000
    • Culvert No. 77- North Sideroad over River Canard -- $525,000
  • Rural Road Rehabilitation Program -- $100,000 (Engineering for Concession Road 5 North from County Road 8 to North Side Road)
  • Urban Road Rehabilitation Program -- $400,000
    • Engineering for Fryer Street from Lowes Side Road to Pickering -- $200,000
    • Engineering for Transportation Master Plan Recommendations -- $200,000
  • Sidewalk on south side of Pickering -- $100,000
  • Annual Bridge Maintenance Program – $200,000
  • Surface Treatment Program -- $200,000
  • Sidewalk Replacement Program -- $150,000

Fleet Replacement Program -- $1,295,000:

  • 2012 Ford F-150 for By-Law -- $65,000
  • 2017 Dodge Van Command Vehicle for emergency response -- $100,000
  • 2006 Single Axle Dump Truck – Two way plow and salt $320,000 (Funded by Development Charges)
  • 2001 Dodge Ram 4x4 for Roads -- $70,000
  • Unit 607 Tractor for Roads -- $190,000
  • 2009 Ladder Apparatus for Fire -- $500,000 (3-year delivery timeframe)
  • Wide Area Deck Mower for Roads -- $50,000

An image of Donald McArthur urging people to sign up for his newsletter