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HomeLocal CouncilResidents Looking At 3% Tax Increase As Council Passes $300 Million Budget

Residents Looking At 3% Tax Increase As Council Passes $300 Million Budget

KAWARTHA LAKES-At Tuesday’s Council meeting the 2022 budget of $302 million was passed. The increase to the tax levy is in keeping with cost of living, at 3 percent.

Council had approved a new annual infrastructure levy of 1.5 percent, which was approved as part of the capital budget on November 30, to ensure municipal assets keep pace with replacement and repair needs.

The municipal budget consists of four separate budgets: Capital, Operating, Special Projects and Water-Wastewater.

Ron Taylor, CAO, noted, “This is a recovery and reset budget. We’re 20 months into the pandemic and revenues have started to recover yet still remain lower than normal. Since we’ve been prudent with expenditures and remained agile in the face of change, we’ve been able to maintain services to the public amid staff shortages and pandemic pressures.”

The 2022 budget includes 12 new positions to support the demand for services from the growing community. The investment in the new positions will help the city return to pre-pandemic levels of service and ensure we’re prepared for the demands of growth that are already being seen. The positions include administrative support for several departments, legal and audit services, parks maintenance, waste reduction and environmental stewardship.

Recruitment is extremely difficult, as is seen across the province due to the pandemic. Taylor added, “Creativity is needed to deliver core services in the current environment. We’ve redeployed and reorganized staffing and will continue to do so in 2022.”

Mayor Letham summed up the 2022 budget by sharing, “Thanks to the support of other levels of government for pandemic funding and the resourcefulness of staff, Council was able to keep taxes in line with long-term plan at 3 percent. I’m also pleased we have set a sustainable path forward to look after capital assets. Our infrastructure levy will allow us to continue to invest in roads, community centres, arenas, parks, libraries and all of the amenities residents value.”

Ross Memorial Hospital presented Council with an opportunity to invest in urgent priorities for technology including the Epic clinical information system and a new CT Scanner and MRI. Council committed to a $1 million donation from reserves. A report will come forward in 2023 to guide future terms of Council on considerations of annual funding.

Kelly Isfan, President and CEO, Ross Memorial Hospital commented, “We’re so grateful that our municipal partners are investing in their local hospital once again to ensure the best care for local residents now and into the future. Because provincial funding doesn’t cover the costs of new and replacement equipment and technology, hospitals and municipalities must work together to deliver critical projects that meet the needs of their communities. With municipal support for this vital hospital investment, others will be inspired to contribute, and together, we will move the Hospital forward into the digital age with better connections and better care for all local residents.”

The budget passed with 3% increase, approximately $45 per year for the average user.

The increase meets the recommendations in the long term plan to look after the capital and operating needs to deliver safe and reliable drinking water supply and wastewater services to approximately 13,000 users while meeting the demands of growth according to the City.

Projects that are one-time in nature and take place within one year make up the Special Projects budget of $2.3 million and include the Community Speed Reduction Campaign, investments in Rural Broadband, plans and studies on bridges and transportation, environmental assessments and technology improvements.

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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