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County budget increase 3.2 per cent

Prince Edward County Council has approved the 2015 operating budget of $46.8 million and capital budget of $10.3 million requiring a net tax levy of $31 million. The budget results in a tax increase of 3.2 per cent.

Abnormally high winter control costs last year impacted the 2015 budget by reducing the surplus available to reduce 2015 tax requirements.

The County’s Director of Finance, James Hepburn, in a press statement, notes the final budget recognizes the ongoing need to continue investing in the County’s infrastructure.
“The inclusion of an additional 1 per cent capital levy of $307,000 for road construction demonstrates council’s recognition of our substantial infrastructure deficit and the ongoing commitment to maintain and improve County roads,” he said. “In total, $2.98 million will be transferred to the roads capital reserve. Overall the 2015 Operating Budget includes $4.98 million for capital renewal.”

Water and Wastewater Services budgets also reflect ongoing financial challenges which include declining consumption, increased operating costs and substantial debt servicing costs.

During budget deliberations rate increases were approved to include a 10 per cent increase in the base charge and a 7 per cent increase in consumptive rates – effective as of Jan. 1, 2015 and translate into an approximate $120 annual increase for the average household consuming 180 m3 (water and wastewater) and a $49 annual increase for households with water only service.

“I am pleased that staff and council were able to follow through with a final budget that addresses our need to maintain service levels while minimizing increases to our ratepayers,” said Mayor Robert Quaiff. “Approving a cost-effective budget for 2015 is a significant milestone for a new council, and speaks to our willingness to work together in the best interest of the taxpayer over the next four years.”

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  1. Mark says:

    @Snowman; Really hadn’t studied that but if you are correct it is a small step in the right direction. You cannot promote a destination location and provide a County hub (Picton) of services supposedly bringing wealth to all without all contributing to that. I gather from your take that if Picton residents paid a sustainable sum of $400 a month that would be fine by you. Pay your way! You fail to realize that being the County hub and providing health services, fire services, municipal services, banking services, food, clothing, business and recreational services which all residents benefit from places extreme pressures on the infrastructure. Selfish perceptions that one can access those services but leave the costs to Picton residents is narrow minded. No one could have expected the few users to be able to fund a 30 million waste plant. Urban ratepayers pay more than any rural family residential well and septic systems cost to operate. The difference is we do not arrive at your property and stress your system. Perhaps we need to just agree to disagree. For the betterment of all I would suggest a different vision to resolve this issue is required. Failing that there will be no urban growth that financially assists all. I won’t even go into the impacts of the poor who can only find sparse housing which is only available in urban areas.

  2. Snowman says:

    @Mark. check the 2015 budget document and you should see money taken from “Reserves” to balance the water works
    underfunding. In laymen’s terms the County went to their savings account and withdrew cash to pay the day to day expenses of the Water department.I think you might call that “unsustainable” over the long haul?
    The reason they did that( instead of levying new taxes) was to limit the tax increase to 3.2%. Reserves are supposed to be used for emergencies, for capital expenditures and/or to earn interest and build over time for “rainy days.”
    So, instead of being upfront and saying for example: “we need $300,000.00 in new taxes from every taxpayer in Prince Edward County this year to make sure the water works can operate” , The County cashed in some term deposits and saved an even larger tax increase from happening.Pretty neat huh?

  3. Mark says:

    That would be great news Snowman for the County’s town to have much needed assistance with water & wastewater infrastructure costs. Where did you read that?

  4. Debbie says:

    Well isn’t that interesting. I guess I better think of something where I can line up at the trough next year and demand funds. All I would have to do is stand up to the horseshoe and whine. If these special interest groups want something… WORK FOR IT! I find it disgusting that the budget was not reviewed or discussed with the intent to cut costs and really look at it line by line. There are 9 new faces to educate about the process. But, then again, what process? There is nothing so far that council should be proud of unless you count incompetence as their main goal. When does the tail stop wagging the dog? When will council start thinking of ALL the taxpayers instead of the privileged few?

  5. Snowman says:

    Strange that Council relies on the CPI for their renumeration, but when it comes to taxes they forget the
    idea of restraint and throw a few hundred thousand extra here and there like they were buying coffees at Tim Hortons. Glad to read that water and sewage are being subsidized by all ratepayers.Hopefully that will once and for all, put an end to all the whining. Water and sewage users now join all the other special interest groups like PEFAC, The Regent, and all the others that can’t ever seem to pay their own way.

  6. Lyn says:

    Wonderful only 3.2% increase. I wish my Old Age Pension was going up that much.

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