It starts at 6:00. While the discussion portion will be broadcast, the Town has suggested that the presentation portion will not be available because of technical issues. So, if you plan to watch the session live or later, be sure to download a copy of the budget document to follow along. The Town has a link to the budget at Combined Agenda.

Why bother with following the Town of Parry Sound Annual budget? The short answer is that it lets you know what the Town has planned for the next few years. Nothing gets done without a budget, and this is where the Town lays it all out, for as long as five years in terms of capital investments. For example, there is a tentative capital line entry in 2023 for an Aquatic Centre. There are a thousand stories in the Parry Sound budget and that is only one of them.

Speaking of budgets, did you read the article in the Ottawa Citizen concerning the Blind River debt, about $50 million, related to solar installations? It has a little bit of a parallel in Parry Sound, but with a better outcome. Almost 7 years ago the Town was approached about investing in a solar program on Town property. The suggestion was that the Town could make money by producing power at a lower price than it could sell it back to the Province. The Town was given an option to cover all costs, or co-invest. I attended the council meeting where the presentation was made by a consultant, and read the supporting documents. It seemed like BS to me. Lots of risk and limited payout. The meeting was held in the top of the Children’s Aid building. As the consultant was leaving, I stepped outside and asked him some more questions about the basis of the propsal, probably a little agressively as I smelled BS. I was told to leave him alone by the accompanying Town of Parry Sound Operations staff person. In the end I sent a letter to Town Staff with my thoughts. In their wisdom, Council declined not to go forward with the solar investment. It might have ended up not so different that the Blind River situation.

The Town is once again looking at investing in solar energy. This time by only supplying the land with Lakeland Power making the financial and management investment. There is still is some risk to the Town as a shareholder in Lakeland Power, hopefully it’s minimal and shared with the other investors.