Budget talks to continue

by Vance Gutzman

Deep River’s 2018 budget deliberations will carry over into the new year.

Unlike the previous couple years, when the municipality was able to pass its budget in December, council has decided to take a closer look at the numbers this year before signing off on the document.

That was the message that came out of last week’s council meeting, during which members of the public were invited to make public comments on the draft budget.

Merrill Gasmann was the sole person from the public gallery to do so, and among the concerns she raised was the proposed expenditure of $30,000 for renovations to the town’s fire hall.

“I’m concerned because this council has gone to the police services board asking for a 10 per cent cut in their budget,” Gasmann told council.

“That seems a little nasty. We have a functioning space (at the fire hall) as it stands.”

Councillor Megan Aikens had similar misgivings about the proposed expenditure, which had not been part of previous versions of the budget.

The $30,000 figure was included in the budget only just recently, following a recommendation from the town’s new fire chief, Gary McRae, that the first floor of the fire station be converted into work space for fire personnel.

“It may be premature,” Aikens said.

“I’d like to have a better understanding of what the future of the fire service might look like.”

> for more on this story, pick up a copy of the December 20 NRT…