South Dundas among most expensive municipalities to operate in Counties
MORRISBURG – A study comparing costs between four municipalities in SDG Counties show that South Dundas is among the most expensive to operate and has the highest administration levels.
The study, part of a cost comparison report by KPMG prepared for South Glengarry council and presented last month, compared the municipal expenses and revenues of South Dundas, South Stormont, and North Glengarry.
Of those municipalities, South Dundas had the highest municipal debt per household in the 2020 fiscal year at $3,297 per household. That is nearly $500 higher than the next highest debt per household in North Glengarry. The debt load is higher for municipalities like South Dundas because it has spent money on infrastructure projects and upgrades recently.
South Dundas has the second highest amount of financial reserves out of the four municipalities, and has the advantage of having the highest amount of reserves that can be directed by council.
With 49 full time staff in 2020, South Dundas was second only to North Glengarry (52) in staff size. South Dundas led the four municipalities with the largest administration staff at 18 people. The second highest number of administrative staff was South Glengarry’s 10 people.
South Dundas’ Public Works department was the second largest of the four municipalities compared with 21 full time staff in 2020.
Government, specifically administration costs for council, staff, and election management in South Dundas was the highest of the four compared, costing households $434 each.
Planning and Development
In 2020, South Stormont led the four municipalities for development having sold a large amount of industrial land, and had 83 homes built. In all South Stormont earned $1.24 million in revenue, and had a cost recovery of 419 per cent. In comparison, South Dundas had 28 residential units built that same year. Cost recovery statistics were incomplete from South Dundas for comparison purposes.
Out of the four municipalities, South Dundas had the lowest number of building permits, but the highest operational costs to operate (including permits and inspections). South Dundas’ expense per permit averaged $2,022 each, $300 higher than North Glengarry and $500 more than South Stormont.
While South Dundas had the second lowest population of the four municipalities, it had the highest operating costs in 2020 for recreation programming. Also with recreation, South Dundas has 16,050 square metres of indoor recreation space, and the third lowest expense of the four municipalities, $181 per household.
Recreation revenues like ice fees and facility rentals was the second highest in South Dundas, earning $51 per household in 2020. Only North Glengarry earned more revenue at $56 per household.
South Dundas has the highest number of parks of the four compared (25) but has the lowest cost per household at $29 each. This means each park in South Dundas costs $1.16 per household. North Glengarry had the highest cost per household for its parks system at $114.
South Dundas had the second highest fire expense per household ($208), $21 less than North Glengarry which has two additional fire stations.
Garbage collection and landfills were the second highest cost per household ($229).
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader