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The Independent February 13, 2014 : Page 3

Thursday, February 13, 2014 Petrolia considers 2.5 percent increase Heather Wright The Independent Petrolia Town Council is hoping to keep any municipal tax increase under three percent. Town administrators have been working on the budget for months and over January, councilors had the first of a number of special budget meetings. The draft-operating budget calls for $5.46 million in spending – about $60,000 more than last year, or a proposed tax increase of 2.5 percent. Director of Finance Rick Charlebois says the town started deliberations with a mix of good and bad news. The value of property went up again, bringing in $125,000 more in revenue. While many rural municipalities face provincial funding cuts, Petrolia will receive about $4,000 more from the province in 2014 than last year. And the town closed out the year with a surplus of almost $9,000. But there have been challenges as well, most notably increasing costs for policing. Petrolia is part of an OPP cooperative in Lambton County which is seeing the cost of policing rise by 7.78 percent this year, due mostly to an eight percent increase in wages for officers. Petrolia Mayor John McCharles says council hopes to keep the increase under three percent. “We’re not making it extremely difficult for ratepayers,” says McCharles. “We’re trying to keep in line with the cost of inflation but we do have (to pay for) an OPP increase of eight percent.” “We’ve streamlined as much as we can to afford to do the things we need.” McCharles says the town had a two-year capital plan that will be completed in 2014. That includes finishing the paving on Princess Street and beginning the work on the Florence and Egan Street reconstruction. McCharles expects at least the engineering work will be completed on that million dollar plus project and he’s hoping provincial infrastructure money may be available to help cover the cost. The Independent Page 3 “SELL IT! BUY IT! LOVE IT!” The town will also be doing some repairs to sidewalks in the downtown and has committed about $37,500 John for a new McCharles entrance sign for the town. The town also plans to spend about $300,000 in capital on the water distribution system and about $800,000 on sanitary sewers. Those costs are paid through water rates. McCharles says councilors will hold one more budget meeting before approving the document. Reduced $10,000 For Quick Sale! Nice & roomy 4 bedroom home features built-in appliances, great breakfast bar, updated kitchen with lots of cabinets, wet bar in familyroom and fenced back yard. Located close to parks and sports elds. Priced to sell at only $139,900. One Floor All Brick Home This bungalow features 4 bedrooms, open concept kitchen, familyroom and full basement. Great location and great price at $154,900. Call John or Brad 519-882-0392 John McCharles Broker Productive Agents in Canada Most RE/MAX sarnia realty inc., Brokerage * 519-882-0392 Sales Representative Brad Young Petrolia Rehabilitation now providing OHIP physiotherapy! To be eligible, patients must have a referral from a doctor or nurse practitioner and must be at least one of the following: • Age 65 or over • Age 19 or younger • Post-hospital stay • On ODSP or Ontario Works Rare Arctic Snowy Owl spotted near Petrolia The Independent Staff Paula Hoskin may be an amateur photographer, but the Petrolia woman has a nature shot that professional photographers would envy. Hoskin captured a shot of a snowy owl and she didn’t have to go to the Arctic Circle to get it. Hoskin was at home when her husband called to say he would be late because he was watching a snowy owl at the corner of Petrolia Line and Mandaumin Road. Hoskin wanted to see it, too but figured it would be gone by the time her husband came to pick her up and took her back to the spot. But a few moments later, Hoskin was standing in a field watching the majestic bird which is usually thousands of kilometers away from southern Ontario. Tanya Pulfer of Ontario Nature says Hoskin is one of many people getting a rare glimpse of the bird this year. “They don’t come very far off the Arctic usually,” she says. But with the population of their favourite food – lemmings – crashing there, the birds headed south this winter in search of something different, snapping up mice and voles in farmer’s fields in southern Ontario. That happens about once every four years. But the distance the birds are traveling this year is unusual. “I believe the last time this occurred was in the last 20 years.” Pulfer says the snowy owls have been spotted in North Carolina and another in Bermuda. Some of the birds have been found at airports in larger centers because the tarmac in the winter simulates the Arctic. All this makes for great viewing for birdwatchers and photographers. “We’ve just been loving all the pictures of snowy owls coming in,” says Pulfer. “We usually see this quality of pictures coming from photographers, a lot of these are coming from people with point and shoot cameras.” Pulfer encourages people to take pictures of the birds from a distance since many of the birds are probably food-stressed and need to hunt to maintain their strength. “Close approach by birders or photographers could make this much harder for them.” If you do see a snowy owl, Pulfer encourages you can go to the citizen birding site eBird.org to report where you caught a glimpse of the bird. Paula Hoskin Photo Other services also include physiotherapy and registered massage therapy. Petrolia Rehabilitation 4119 Petrolia Line Unit 3 Petrolia, ON N0N 1R0 Please call 519-882-3076 to book an appointment today! Happy Valentine’s Day -Friday, February 14th 
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