Cham­plain Town­ship bud­get ap­pro­ved

Tribune Express - - NEWS - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

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.

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