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Council approves 2024 budget – 5.3 per cent hike

UPDATE: The incorrect number for the 2024 tax-supported operating budget was issued  last Friday. The expenditure figure for the operating budget should be: $75,228,956

Council managed to halve the proposed increase for the 2024 budget following in-depth discussion over the past five days.

“We heard loud and clear from residents about keeping the tax increase as low as possible while focusing on priorities like roads,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson. “Over the past week, council came together and identified projects that could be cancelled or delayed, while continuing to deliver a number of services at the same level that residents and businesses have come to rely on everyday.”

The tax-supported operating budget of $75.2 million (corrected) — $50.7 million raised through taxation — will fund the delivery of services such as road and bridge maintenance, garbage pick-up, policing, recreational programs, emergency services, libraries, museums, community services, and long-term care.

The approved budgets funded by municipal taxes require a rate increase of 5.4 per cent, or approximately an additional $56.35 for each $100,000 in assessed value.

The capital budget of $116.1 million for 2024 will pay for road repair, construction, and replacement and the equipment to support that work, an emergency vehicle, and improvements to several municipal buildings and properties. The capital budget also includes $94.7 million for the long-term care facility redevelopment pending additional provincial funding.

The 2024 capital budget includes $4.3 million directed to rural roads rehabilitation to continue with the implementation of the council-approved five-year road improvement plan.

Council approved a $2 million project for culvert replacements on County Road 49 as a first step in rehabilitating this road. The municipality will use $419,000 of Municipal Accommodation Tax funds and will seek donations or grants for the remainder for the culvert replacement project. County council and its County Road 49 Working Group continues to seek an equal cost-sharing agreement with the upper levels of government in order to complete the entire $30-million rehabilitation project.

Council approved Phase 3 of the Picton Main Street reconstruction (260 metres east of Spencer Street to Folkard Lane). The budget for the project includes $7.8 million for the road work portion and $9.7 million for the water and wastewater upgrade components.

Additional highlights:

$350,000 to support the recruitment and retention of family physicians to practice in Prince Edward County.

$428,574 to support community groups and activities including:
Community grants over $5,000 ($129,716) and community grants under $5,000 ($16,615). Both streams of this program are administered by The County Foundation
Recreation committees ($98,793)
Prince Edward Learning Centre Tax Program ($80,000)
Food security ($20,000, distributed to eight entities/programs)
Prince Edward Fitness and Aquatic Centre ($70,000)
Community Care for Seniors ($13,450)

Council earmarked $618,000 for 10 community improvement projects with funding provided by developers through the Parkland Reserve. Projects across the County include upgrades to boat docks, installation of outdoor multipurpose hockey rinks, construction of a permanent washroom, and improvements to streetscapes. Funds from the Parkland Reserve come from developers who pay the cash equivalent of the parkland that they are required to give to the municipality under the Planning Act.

Council approved a new facility to support firefighter training and certification – $15,000 of the $25,000 project will come through community donations.

Water and wastewater budgets
Council also approved the water and wastewater capital budget of $10.6 million and the operating budget of $11.6 million.

A majority of the water and wastewater capital budget is debt financed. There is no additional impact to the rate-supported 2023 operating budget or water rates due to debt repayment because of up-front financing agreements. A Water and Wastewater Rates Community Working Group will be established in 2024 to help inform the water and wastewater rates for 2027 – 2031.

Council unanimously approved the continuation of the Municipal Financial Relief Program to support low-income households in Prince Edward County.

Households earning less than $32,240 (single income) or $64,480 (family income) will be able to apply to one of two streams of the program:
Qualifying tenants who pay for water and wastewater services can apply for $350 toward their water bill.
Qualifying home owners can apply for $750 toward their property tax account.

Households earning less than $20,000 will be able to apply for one of two streams:
Qualifying tenants who pay for water and wastewater services can apply for $500 toward their water bill.
Qualifying home owners can apply for a credit of $1,000 toward their property tax account.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Administrator says:

    The County Foundation administers the grant. Its website states the deadline for this year is to be announced in the spring.

  2. KB says:

    When I contacted the county a few months ago, I missed the cut off to apply for water and tax relief. What is the cut off date for this upcoming year?

  3. Administrator says:

    The incorrect number for the 2024 tax-supported operating budget was issued  last Friday. The expenditure figure for the operating budget should be: $75,228,956

  4. B Wilder says:

    Maybe I am missing something here, but the County indicated, before budget deliberations began, the 2024 proposed operating budget total was $77.8 million. Now, the County’s news release says that the approved operating budget is in fact $91.5 million. That $77.8 million included a 12.7% increase over 2023. Now with a 5.3% over 2023, we are at $91.5 million. Here is the first story link:

  5. Roland Gillespie says:

    It would be truly interesting and educational to know exactly what was cut from the budget in order to reduce the projected tax rate by approximately 50%. Regardless, I think this is a rate most of us can live with. Bravo to County Council for making the tough decisions.

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