By Chad Ingram
Published August 9 2016
The City of Kawartha Lakes is seeking amendments to its joint service agreement with Haliburton County amendments that would cost the county an additional $100000 or so a year.
Social services and housing for Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes are handled jointly through the latter.
The joint social services and housing advisory committee is recommending the county pay more for housing and for administration costs for the housing portfolio.
“The most significant impacts to the County of Haliburton result from the changes in the housing portfolio” a July 27 report from county chief administrative officer Mike Rutter reads. “In the past costs were allocated based on each party’s proportionate share of the assessed value of the properties. This amendment proposes to allocate costs based on the number of units. It was the opinion of staff that this more closely reflects ‘benefit’ to each party and is more appropriate as it is the number of units that actually drives costs. Based on 2016 budget number this would increase the county’s share by $21022.”
Increased administrative payments for the county would amount to more than $75000.
“The proposed amendment also includes a provision for the county to pay a share of administration costs for the housing portfolio” Rutter’s report continues. “It is our understanding this has not been the case in the past. The administrative costs are proposed to be cost-shared based on the number of units. Based on the 2016 budget numbers this would increase the county’s share by $75766.”
Rutter’s report did suggest those costs would be mitigated by provincial uploading.
“Staff do not have projected budget numbers for 2017 at this point but it is expected that the upload of costs by the provincial government will reduce the overall impact of these cost increases substantially” the report reads. “We cannot however quantify those impacts at this time.”
County councillors want more detail as to where the municipality’s share of administration costs would be spent.
“I was there when we did the memorandum of understanding when the city became the service provider” Dysart et al Reeve Murray Fearrey said during a July 27 council meeting.
That agreement between Haliburton County and the former Victoria County was first executed in 1999 with the successive agreements or amendments made with the amalgamated City of Kawartha Lakes in 2001 2006 and 2011.
“I guess it was felt the fairest way to do it was based on assessment and ability to pay” Fearrey said. “I’m not saying it shouldn’t change and I’m not saying it’s not fair.”
What Fearrey wants to see is where the administrative costs would be spent.
Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin agreed.
“Value paid for services provided and how we get to it is through some level of transparency” Devolin said. “We’d like to see the numbers. I’d like you to paint more of the picture.”
There is another joint advisory committee meeting in September and Rutter told councillors a report with further information would likely come forward at council’s September meeting.
The county paid approximately $1.8 million for social services and housing in 2016.