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Council sets 2017 budget

Prince Edward County Council has approved a $50.5 million operating and $11.6 million capital budget for 2017 – a year the municipality is calling ‘transitional’ in a journey toward financial sustainability.

“Council needed to make some difficult decisions in reviewing this year’s budget,” said Mayor Robert Quaiff, in a statement late Friday. “Not only do we want to prioritize financial sustainability and stable tax rates, but we also want to ensure that the municipality has enough resources available to provide high-quality services and rehabilitate our infrastructure.”

The approved operating budget of $50.5 million and capital budget of $11.6 million require a net tax levy of $33.7 million. The 2017 budget is an overall increase of 4.3 per cent over the 2016 budget. A tax increase of 3.25 per cent is required. That is an increase of approximately $28.52 for each $100,000 in assessed MPAC property value. However, property tax rates will also be affected by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s (MPAC) update to Current Value Assessments for all properties, which takes effect in 2017. The tax rates are to be adopted in February, 2017.

Quaiff noted municipalities in Ontario can no longer depend on higher levels of government to fund infrastructure projects.

“There are fewer and fewer provincial grants and other funding mechanisms available to us, so we’ve got to find a way to fund these projects ourselves,” he said.

Included in this year’s approved capital budgets are projects such as:
 Wilson Road re-construction;
 County Road 28 bridge replacement;
 Danforth Road reconstruction;
 The Benson Park development project;
 Improvements to the Waupoos boat launch;
 Restoration and rehabilitation of the Millennium Trail.

Budgets for Water and Wastewater Services were approved but rates are to remain unchanged until the spring.

Financial challenges relate to slow growth in overall water consumption and substantial debt servicing costs for capital renewal.

As recommended by the Water and Wastewater Rate and Connection Charges Ad-hoc Committee, the rates will remain unchanged until the committee can complete its work plan and provide long-term rate recommendations. The committee is to return to council in April with recommendations before water and wastewater service rates will be updated.

Full reports are to be posted on the County’s website.

Filed Under: Local News

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