A new administrative office, fire station, library and parks are all on the horizon for residents of New Tecumseth as growth continues to drive the agenda for the town.
The 2018 budget approved by council will go to meet the increasing demands that include these new facilities as well as several other service improvements.
The $32.2 million budget will see the tax bill of an average assessed home in the municipality increase by just over $90 this year. The amount will be a portion of the total tax bill that also includes amounts ratepayers will have to give to Simcoe County and local school boards.
Old Alliston Union Public School, on Albert St., will become the site for the new town administrative centre, relocating from the current location on Wellington St. E. and becoming the new hub for civic activities in New Tecumseth. Ultimately, the total cost of the new town hall will be about $15 million with an expected opening date in mid-2019. Work is expected to begin later this year, which will include an almost total demolition of the old school on the 4.4 acre site. The design of the new structure has not yet been determined.
The new municipal headquarters is coming at the right time says Mayor Rick Milne.
“We are bursting at the seams where we are now,” he said. “The growth that we are experiencing means we need more space.”
One of the fastest growing areas in Simcoe County, New Tecumseth has been seeing double-digit growth in recent years and now has a population approaching 40,000. The mayor says the town has been taking a very strategic position on the growth and he believes this budget provides the services that are necessary for a town that is evolving. To that extent, the major capital projects are being constructed with an eye to the future needs of the community.
For instance, the mayor said although the current location of the Tottenham library has been efficient, the community needs something better. As such, the Pam Kirkpatrick Branch of the New Tecumseth Library, currently housed in Tottenham Mall, will be located. The new library will be added on to the existing Tottenham Community and Fitness Centre. The branch is expected to open by this time next year.
The town is also poised to begin construction on a new fire station which will be located on the 14th Line in Alliston.
“The new fire station is something that we really need,” said Milne, adding that new developments in that area will need to be served.
Although the budget prepares for growth, the mayor stressed that town staff took a disciplined approach to the process and presented council with a plan that was needed, but one designed not to overburden ratepayers.
Other highlights of the budget include new parks in Tottenham, Beeton and Alliston and a lot of road maintenance projects.
Council also approved a new water and wastewater budget which will see rates increase by 2.5 per cent, effective April 1.