Pre­lim­i­nary bud­get sees 4.08% in­crease for Es­panola

The Mid-North Monitor - - Front Page - CAMILLA WHITE-KIRK­PATRICK

An overview of the 2018 pre­lim­i­nary bud­get for the Town of Es­panola projects a 4.08% in­crease.

Clerk trea­surer/ad­min­is­tra­tor Cyn­thia Townsend said some of the chal­lenges faced by the town in­clude de­creases in pro­vin­cial fund­ing, in­fla­tion­ary cost of goods, in­creases in hy­dro and Bill 148, which along with the min­i­mum wage in­crease also changed va­ca­tion and emer­gency leave en­ti­tle­ments.

´We have def­i­nitely seen those pres­sures in our bud­get,° she told coun­cil at the Jan. 30 meet­ing.

Townsend said Es­panolaÿs ap­por­tion­ment to the Man­i­toulin Sud­bury So­cial Ser­vices has in­creased by $53,529 and a big­ger chal­lenge is the po­lice ser­vices board re­quest of an ad­di­tional $495,421 to their bud­get (a 21.8% in­crease).

She re­ported that the past 15 years have seen an ero­sion in the in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial as­sess­ments, which had to be picked up by the res­i­den­tial sec­tor.

´With the trend of on­line shop­ping, fur­ther ero­sion of the com­mer­cial sec­tor is ex­pected.°

Townsend said the tax bur­den has pretty much stayed the same as last year.

Over­all, the de­part­ment bud­gets came in at an in­crease of 8.7%, she said.

Af­ter with­draw­ing $350,000 from the tax rate sta­bi­liza­tion re­serve to help off­set the in­crease, the levy is at a 4.08% in­crease.

Townsend ex­plained that the townÿs in­come is com­prised of 47% from tax­a­tion, 34% from user fees and 18% from gov­ern­ment grants.

On the ex­pense side, 23% of tax dol­lars are spent on polic­ing, 19% on trans­porta­tion, 11% on ad­min­is­tra­tion, 13% on recre­ation, 10% to DSAB, 10% on ed­u­ca­tion, five per cent on en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices, three per cent on fire, and the re­main­der on health ser­vices, plan­ning ser­vices, gen­eral in­spec­tions and li­brary.

Some of the cap­i­tal projects re­flected in the bud­get in­clude: fire de­part­ment equip­ment, a po­lice ve­hi­cle and trans­fer to po­lice re­serves, Queensway resur­fac­ing, hard sur­fac­ing from Sta­tion Road to Sec­ond Av­enue, one piece of new equip­ment for pub­lic works, fund­ing for a new care van, Al Secord trail ex­pan­sion, the de­vel­op­ment of a his­tor­i­cal park and a biosolids study that is al­ready un­der­way.

Townsend added that one of the pro­posed road projects might get help from the Con­nect­ing Link fund­ing, but that is yet to be con­firmed.

´Weÿve done pretty well at hold­ing the line on taxes, but each year it gets harder and harder,° said Townsend.

She added that there are cur­rently 13 out­stand­ing tax ap­peals on six prop­er­ties. As a re­sult, the taxes-atrisk is $1.8 mil­lion or 22% of cur­rent year levy.

´Itÿs very un­likely we would lose all of that,° said Townsend, adding that eight of those ap­peals are ex­pected to soon be set­tled.

Fol­low­ing Townsendÿs pre­sen­ta­tion, coun­cil passed a res­o­lu­tion re­quest­ing the li­brary board and po­lice ser­vices board re­view their bud­gets for fur­ther sav­ings with the goal of lim­it­ing their over­all bud­get in­crease to less than two per cent.

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