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Council approves 2018 budget

The 2018 taxes in Prince Edward County will go up about $30 per $100,000 in assessment value as council has approved its 2018 budget with an increase of 3.5 per cent.

The approved operating budget of $52.6 million and capital budget of $15.7 million will require a net tax levy of $35.5 million. The combined 2018 operating and capital budget of $68.3 million represents an increase of 5.3 per cent over the 2017 budget and requires a tax increase of 3.5 per cent after taking real assessment growth into consideration.

The impact of the 2018 budget is an annual tax increase of approximately $30.66 for each $100,000 in assessed MPAC property value.

“The 2018 budget addresses the need to invest in our community while continuing to advance the long-term financial sustainability of the municipality,” said Mayor Robert Quaiff. “During three days of careful budget deliberations, council had to make some tough decisions in the face of competing priorities and demands. In the end, council arrived at a budget for 2018 that spends tax dollars in a responsible manner.”

Highlights of the 2018 budget include:
– Approximately $9 million in roads and bridges projects, including County Road 1 rehabilitation, County Road 14 rehabilitation, the second phase of Wilson Road reconstruction, Talbot Street reconstruction, various road surface treatment work, and Black River bridge rehabilitation.
– A $250,000 investment in affordable housing projects and pilot programs.
– Extension of sidewalk snow removal to Cherry Valley and Milford.
– About $750,000 for community, recreation and heritage grants.
– Additional staffing complement to meet the demands from anticipated development growth.

“Overall, our operating budget is in good shape, but we continue to experience budget pressures, due in large part to our infrastructure deficit,” said James Hepburn, the County’s Chief Administrative Officer. “A number of priority capital projects are unfinanced, and we continue to deplete our capital reserves. To address this issue, we will focus on updating the County’s asset management plan in 2018 with specific funding strategies.”

Council also approved the budgets for water and wastewater services. The current rate model and plan adopted by council in June 2017 was designed for long-term financial sustainability of the County’s water and wastewater services.

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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    According to Stats Can – household debt now stands at the highest in our history at 171% – meaning that for every dollar Canadians make they need $1.71 to break even. Maybe Council needs to understand and to keep this in mind when they try to make out a that a 3.5% tax increase is insignificant – which we know it is not!

  2. Gary Mooney says:

    As I understand it, the $250K is seed money to be used to facilitate consideration of any proposed affordable housing development — e.g. hiring a consultant planner to achieve a prompt review of the proposal.

  3. Chuck says:

    Hastings County received millions in funding for a 40 unit affordable housing development. Has the County applied?

  4. sue says:

    What exactly does “$250,000 investment in affordable housing projects and pilot programs” mean?……I thought this was a priority however it appears affordable housing comes out at the bottom.

  5. Dennis Fox says:

    I know that it isn’t easy trying to set a budget – but as I have said many times before – I’m tired of tax increases of approximately 3- 5% every year. I don;t believe that many people have incomes that increase like this. I think it is a safe bet that this council’s accumulated tax increases total close to 20%, over the last 4 years. Like most people, I am aware of the need for affordable housing – but can anyone explain how a community of less than 25,000 can afford to build them? The amount of $250K is a drop in the bucket to build houses with and no mention of upper tier assistance. Instead it sure looks like nothing more than a political move for next years election. As for the money for Highway 49? No mention of that either- wasn’t that suppose to be Council’s prime targets?

    BTW – last summer I asked about council addressing the need to make money from tourism. A huge source of revenue that Council chooses to ignore. How ridiculous!

  6. Paul Cole says:

    It is a sad situation that spans over many council terms as they chased the golden tourist destination dream many other County issues have fallen to the wayside. Instead of looking into and applying for affordable housing funding programs both Federal and Provincial County staff has been focusing on park walkways and washrooms, bronze statues and ridiculously expensive tree’s for Main St. Its time the focus was shifted from tourism and placed squarely on the needs of County Residents and not County visitors…..

  7. Fred says:

    The need for real affordable housing is much compromised by the fact if you can find it the energy bills and the County’s exorbitant water bills kill it. A young family with 2 kids cannot afford $200 a month just for water instead of food. Utterly ridiculous!

  8. Emily says:

    Don’t miss the logic here. They are of the mindset that vacation rentals are taking away affordable housing. Vacation rentals will never provide affordable housing.

  9. Paul Cole says:

    Prince Edward County is in a unique situation being a tourist destination what’s to stop all available rental housing in the County from becoming short term rentals. Gary you complain about taxes yet short tern rental businesses are rolling in the cash weekly hand over fist yet pay no licensing fee’s or taxes on that money as a business does like a Motel. Those fee’s and taxes could offset your tax increases.

  10. Susan says:

    County is asleep at the switch as affordable housing dollars have been awarded all across the Province and I don’t believe we have received a cent. Got to be ready,prepared and smart. Jim Pine CAO of Hastings has been pulling in millions for affordable housing.

  11. Gary says:

    You are right on the mark Mark! The County needs to get in the game like Hastings County has. Millions in funding to develop real affordable housing. And the County needs to realize that every year they raise taxes well past inflation that they make affordable housing more difficult as those increases are past on to tenants.

  12. Mark says:

    Big brother government telling us what we can do with our property again. The vacation rentals here are no fix to affordable housing. #1 they would never be affordable!

  13. Paul Cole says:

    I agree with Chris Keen on the affordable housing front. Toronto has basically handed Prince Edward County a blue print to regulate short term rentals (airbnb’s))with a few tweaks so it fits with existing regulations here in the County with no need for expensive studies to be done it could work here….

  14. Chris Keen says:

    Perhaps one step Council might consider that could make a contribution to availability/affordability of housing in the County is to follow Toronto’s lead.

    Toronto city council approved regulations for short-term rentals in the city that services such as as Airbnb. They allow the rental of a principal residence only; homeowners are not allowed to list secondary suites, such as a basement apartment, for short-term rental. Entire home rentals are capped at 180 days a year.

    The city is creating a registry of short-term rental landlords who will have to declare that their rental property is their principal residence and pay an annual fee of $50.

    Of course the County would have to exclude three-season cottages from these regulations.

  15. ADJ says:

    It seemed as though the budget was brought in and approved very quickly this year…no burning the midnight oil to hash over details or trim the extras. One thing that surprised me was the generous “gift” received by the PEFAC again this year to the tune of 90Gs! I never expected that much, maybe 10-$15000 but this is crazy. I appreciate it’s usefulness but man o man when does it end? I’d wager a guess this operation has been funded by the County for more than 20 yrs. and to my knowledge the County does not own it. But try and get a straight answer out of your councillor in regards to the finances. There never seems to be any followup or Council inspection after the grant has been given. Sure PEFAC will forward their financial report to Council but again no followup. Has this grant ever been refused or at least seriously reduced? Is there no “Watchdog” on Council or Committee that can rein in these expenses? I realize all the good things supported by the PEFAC from swim lessons to team sports, seniors programs to Doctors recommendations….I get all that, but still question the high dollar grants every year at budget time.

  16. Snowman says:

    I’ve often wondered why The Mayor and Council don’t freeze department budgets.Just say ,look: we have an infrastructure
    deficit( as if the managers need to be told that!) and we are determined to address it. Your budget is frozen. Deal with it. Two years, three years .whatever. 99% of taxpayers would see absolutely no change to their daily lives if this happened. Spending is increasing at 3x the rate of inflation and has for years. We are “eating up” new tax revenues (assessment on new build/reno houses) like kids with Christmas candy.

  17. Todd says:

    Unreal. The county is going to “invest” in affordable housing while making living here unaffordable by continuing to increase the cost of living. Higher taxes, exorbitant fees for water and sewer for those connected to the system with no other option. I guess councilors think that seniors and young families will be able to keep up with their ever increasing appetite to keep spending and keep taxing more and more.

  18. wevil says:

    it is pretty easy to dump this mess on the next council

  19. Gary says:

    What is the 4 year cumulative tax increase for this Council? And the incoming Council will have no reserves.

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