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Minimal tax hike in County’s 2010 budget

Prince Edward County has reduced its tax rate but taxes still go up a bit as the municipality must raise almost $24 million in its $97 million 2010 budget. The end result to the taxpayer is an approximate increase of $78 based on an average assessment of  $200,000.
The tax rate for 2010 has decreased by 3.7%, in part due to assessment value increases and through management of departmental budgets. The operating budget of $46.2 million had increased expenditures of  0.7% ($335,000) over 2009. A reduction in revenue of $1.5 million in provincial funding was the primary factor in the operating budget increase of 6.5%. The operating budget, which is the cost of service delivery to ratepayers, is composed of departmental budgets, funding to external agencies and funding to community organizations.
The capital budget at $50.8 million is unusually large due to major infrastructure projects currently under way and supported by both federal and provincial government funding. It includes 2010 expenditures for multi-year projects such as the Picton Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Wellington & District Community Centre, the Queen and Centre Streets reconstruction in Picton and the Youth Park at the Prince Edward County Fair Grounds. Other projects with senior government funding are the reconstruction of County Roads 15 and 25, which will be completed this year, upgrades to buildings as well as numerous other relatively small, local projects.
“I am confident that Council has done the best it could to control spending but make the best use of infrastructure funds that we have been fortunate to see awarded to us,” said Mayor Leo Finnegan.
“Naturally everyone would like to see more done and we recognize that many of our assets require maintenance, but we are also very much aware of the ratepayers’ ability to pay. There is always a fine line to be drawn between want and need. I believe that this budget strikes a reasonable balance and represents a fair budget for the times we presently live in.”
The increase in assessment from new growth was 1.6%. This is the second year of a 4-year phase-in of property values from the 2008 reassessment by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). On average, existing properties will have a 7% increase in assessed value for the 2010 taxation year.

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