Champlain Township budget approved
Property owners in Champlain Township can expect to see their tax notices showing up in the mail soon now. Township council approved the 2017 municipal budget, though few members of council are happy about all of it.
“We’re increasing our tax levy by 6.6 per cent,” said Mayor Gary Barton during the Feb. 14 council session.
Mayor Barton noted that the original draft for the 2017 budget, presented to council last autumn, suggested that more than a 10 per cent increase to the municipal levy might be needed to meet all operation and capital expenses. Revisions to the budget by administration staff and department heads pared the suggest levy to about nine per cent during council’s public review sessions early in the new year. Barton observed that bringing the municipal levy increase below the seven per cent mark represented a remarkable achievement for staff to try and meet the needs of the community without a huge expense to taxpayers.
“We are spending that much money,” Barton said, “but we’ve also got more (municipal) income coming in.”
The 2017 budget totals $22.7 million, and that includes a $5.3 million municipal levy, which is made up of the property taxes that the township collects as part of its revenue needs. The rest of the budget revenue list includes provincial grants, water and sewer user fees, and other sources of funding.
During last Tuesday’s final discussion of the budget before its approval, several council members expressed concern about the levy increase. Most other municipalities in Prescott-Russell have managed to draft budgets for this year with smaller percentage increases to their levies.
Mayor Barton told council that the 6.6 per cent increase is “unavoidable” because there are some expenses included in this year’s budget, such as an increase to the policing service contract fee, which are fixed and cannot be either held off to another year or ignored.
This year’s township budget also includes about $10 million for capital works, part of which are some of the costs for the planned upgrade of the municipality’s waste water treatment system. The township is getting provincial funding assistance with that expense.
During last Tuesday’s final discussion of the budget before its approval, several council members expressed concern about the levy increase.
Le conseil municipal de Champlain a approuvé, avec un peu de réticence, une augmentation de 6,6 % du taux d’imposition des taxes municipales pour le budget de 2017. Le maire Gary Barton a déclaré au conseil que l’augmentation était inévitable compte tenu des besoins opérationnels et d’immobilisations de la municipalité.