Five-year funding commitment for Dundas Manor

SDG –  A new building for Dundas Manor in Winchester is one step closer to reality thanks to a five-year funding commitment from SDG Counties Council.

The capital funding request from the Dundas Manor, and Maxville Manor, was the largest sticking point in the 2020 budget process at the counties.

The two facility replacement projects requested a combined $6.5 million in capital funding from the Counties during the preliminary budget meetings in December 2019.

Councillors heard four funding options from SDG treasurer Rebecca Russell which kept tax increases as low as possible, but also created some funding solutions to fulfil the requests of both projects.

The approved plan will fund a total of $3 million in 2020. Dundas Manor will receive $500,000 while the Maxville project will receive its full funding request ($2.5 million) this year. The 2020 funding will be split between increased taxation ($1.25 million) and reserve funds ($1.75 million). Russell told council that the approved funding option will increase the proposed tax rate increase from 2.13 per cent to 2.75 per cent, or $34.35 on the average residential tax bill.

Beginning in 2021, Dundas Manor will receive $953,500 each year from the counties, with the final installment delivered in 2024.

Russell said that the impact on taxation for years two-to-five will be lower. Based on 2020 assessments, the projected tax rate increase will be about two per cent per year. “But we don’t know what assessment increases will be, so the [tax increase] may be lower,” Russell said.

While the Dundas Manor funding commitment is spread over five years, the project will likely receive that funding sooner. Council agreed to take any year end surpluses and place them into a reserve fund.

Russell told council that she was still working on the 2019 year end financial report, but there will be a surplus.

“This funding commitment from the Counties is what we needed,” Dundas Manor chair Bill Smirle told The Leader after the meeting. “With this we can begin to move forward with the ministry and with the banks.”

Smirle said that there is still a significant amount of fundraising to be completed for the project.

“We still need to fundraise about $12 million, and that will be through community efforts.”

The approved funding commitments for Dundas Manor and Maxville Manor will be approved at the final budget vote, which is expected at the February county council meeting.

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