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Tillsonburg Council Holds Budget Cramming Sessions

Tillsonburg is finally getting around to sorting through the 2013 budget. The process was delayed as the town looked to hire a new CAO. With David Calder now in place, councillors and staff are hitting the books. They've held two full-day budget meeting so far, with the latest on Tuesday. Economic development was an area of focus in Tuesday's talks. While Councillors want to continue to develop the downtown, Director David Samis says that Tillsonburg needs to be pro-business all-around. "I think we're going to have to look at what tools or what information new people (businesses) coming to town want. What space is available as well. But also not close off development to other parts of the community as well, because there may be people that want to shop in other parts of the town." Councillors heard from several other departments on Tuesday, some asking for some big-ticket items in 2013. One of the biggest surprises is a hydro bucket truck that will cost $364,000 to replace. Councillors were upset that nothing was put away in reserves for it. Another potential cost is the need for a new Zamboni, with a $45,000 price tag. The town?s fire Chief Jeff Smith outlined some fairly major risks facing his department, one being the lack of building plans for many buildings in Tillsonburg. "We will do pre-incident planning where we physically go in and do a survey of the building, see where some of the hazards are, where the utility shut-offs are. We need to develop the information we need to go in an effectively fight a fire." Another area in need of updating is the town?s Fire Hall. It?s 32-years-old and is outdated based on some building codes. No decisions have been made on the budget. Talks continue Thursday.

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