Residents in Prince Edward County can expect to see a hike in their 2018 taxes.
Following three days of budget discussions at Shire Hall, a total budget of $68,369,986 million was set.
Mayor Robert Quaiff says he feels he can justify this budget to the residents.
Council passed an operating budget of $52,658,203 million and a capital budget of $15,711,783 million.
The increase means a tax hike of 5.33 per cent but once assessment growth is taken into consideration, that drops to 3.47 per cent.
Home owners can expect to see an increase of $30.66 per $100,000 in MPAC assessment.
Quaiff says the budget addresses the need to invest in the community while continuing to advance the long-term financial sustainability of the municipality.
Some of the 2018 budget highlights include:
- $250,000 investment in affordable housing
- $100,000 for sidewalk snow removal in Cherry Valley and Milford
- Approximately $9 million in roads and bridges projects; including County Road 1 rehabilitation, phase two of Wilson Road reconstruction and Black River bridge rehabilitation
- Rossmore Station #5 Expansion as well as the purchase of a new tanker, rescue van and rescue boat
- the replacement of three Public Works trucks, the purchase of a Kubota tractor with winter implements and the replacement of a tandem axle truck with winter implements
Chief Administrative Officer James Hepburn says his focus is on the fact they have spent their reserves. He says they have nil to pass on to future council and they will need to focus on updating the County’s asset management plan with specific funding strategies.
When it comes to water and wastewater services, Amanda Carter, the Director of Finance says overall they are ahead.
Residents will see an increase in consumptive rate charges from $2.12 to $2.28 beginning on January 1st, 2018 with the monthly base charge also increasing to $29.30.
Wastewater will see an increase from $2.84 to $3.10 and the monthly base increase to $41.19, also on January 1st.
Carter says user fees make up 94.4 per cent of all water revenues and only $171,800 from reserves was needed for the water operating budget, which is a drop from last year.
The wastewater operating budget sees $243,600 transferred from reserves and reserve funds in 2018.
Water and wastewater budgets must be self-funding.
Councillor Roy Pennell told those around the horseshoe they are in much better shape than they were three years ago.
The bylaw to set tax rates will be brought forward at the February 14th, 2018 council meeting.