By Stew Slater
Jim Brown, Town of St. Marys treasurer, has taken a job that will approximately double the number of municipal ratepayers whose taxes he’s responsible for, and approximately double the driving time from his Stratford home.
After his official final day of employment at Town Hall on Friday, Feb. 1, Brown will become director of finance for Ingersoll.
“It’s the same job, different title,” he told the Journal Argus last week, following the announcement of his pending departure.
The announcement comes at the height of deliberations for the town’s 2013-14 budget — a document which, as treasurer, Brown is in charge of creating, defending, amending in keeping with suggestions, and ultimately recommending for approval by Town Council. In past years, that budget has not typically been approved until late winter or early spring.
When asked, however, if he feels he is leaving Town Council and staff “in the lurch” by departing now, Brown expressed confidence that much of the major work and deliberations on this year’s budget will be complete before Feb. 1.
“We have a budget meeting (on Thursday, Jan. 24) and we’ll see how far we get,” he said. He added that there have been a number of meetings with Council already, some suggestions have been made and acted upon, and since the most recent meeting, “(councillors) weren’t looking for any significant changes.”
“I think we’re pretty much there. It’s unlikely we can get final approval (on Thursday) but I would think it shouldn’t be too many days after that for a vote.”
Asked about what citizens of St. Marys should expect in the 2013-14 budget, he said there shouldn’t be any surprises. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some big-ticket expenditures.
“We’ve got a large capital program laid out,” including possible first-step expenditures — such as engineering reports or environmental assessments — related to a second water tower, an expansion of the water treatment plant, and bridges on Water Street and Wellington Street.
“Those were all identified in the Development Charges study, so there shouldn’t be any big surprise about those.”