by Brian Donlevy
The fear of the cuts to provincial funding impacting local services has come to fruition in Zorra Township. The municipality has lost more than a million and a half dollars in provincial dollars over the past few years and Council always been fearful of the day when the choice would be a massive tax hike or cuts in service. It looks like 2017 will be a combination of both. Council started the budget process looking at a 7and a half percent increase in the amount of money needed from taxes. One impact is that both the arena in Embro and the one in Thamesford will not be open during the day Wednesday or Thursdays. As well, all shifts will be covered by full time staff for the 7 months of the year and they will not have any weekends off.
Budget cuts in Zorra Township means less part time staff is going to be hired. In order to get the tax level down to a more acceptable level, hours for part time staff at the arenas will be cut in half from 32 to 16. The municipality will also not hire a summer student for the office. That will mean almost $6900 in savings.
A planned subdivision near the Cold Spring processing plant will remain on the books for at least another 18 months. The draft plan of subdivision was originally submitted to Oxford County and Zorra Township back in 2000. A plan needs to be revisited every two years with official extensions must be allowed by the Township and the County. Zorra requested an additional meeting with Maple Leaf Foods, who owns the land, in light of their announcement to close the facility. The company said in light of its decision to move production they will need more time to sell the lands.
There could be two children’s camps running in Thamesford this summer. Zorra Township Council was asked to consider closing their day camp and have everyone registered with a local church’s camp. One of the problems with not running the municipal camp is the fact that 39 people have already registered. The Zorra camp runs from 8:30 to 4:30 and is open for children from Senior Kindergarten to Grade 5. It will operate from July 3rd to September 1st. There will be programming around a common theme that will change every week. It will cost $20.00.