Hastings County has set its 2017 budget with a tax levy increase for property owners of 2.6%.
The $135.2 million operating budget means an additional $10.47 for a typical taxpayer with a residential assessment of $173,500.
The budget, set on Monday, calls for investment in renewal of long-term care homes, including roofing and carpeting.
CAO Jim Pine says it includes five new ambulances and new special stretchers.
The county is also putting money into attracting new businesses to the area by hiring a marketing manager and a business advisor.
Reeve Tom Deline of Centre Hastings told council the province set the ground rules for long term care and should provide more funding for the two county homes.
Treasurer Susan Horwood told council the budget reflects that the county is absorbing a “significant increase” in the cost of hydro because of the lack of extra provincial funding.
Horwood said the county must grow its assessment base through economic development.
She said there’s an emphasis on a wellness initiative for staff and pointed to the power stretchers which will reduce injuries to emergency services staff.
The county is also investing $150,000 in the North Hastings hospital and has added doctor candidates to its doctor scholarship program.