Coun­ties coun­cil keeps chop­ping at bud­get

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

It’s drop­ped a couple of per­cen­tage points and the mayors on coun­ties coun­cil hope to make the tax rate hike for next year’s bud­get even lo­wer.

Ju­lie Mé­nard-Brault, di­rec­tor of fi­nance for the Uni­ted Coun­ties of Pres­cott-Rus­sell (UCPR), pre­sen­ted coun­ties coun­cil with a single-sheet sum­ma­ry of re­vi­sions to the 2018 pre­li­mi­na­ry bud­get re­port, on Oct. 25.

The sug­ges­ted re­duc­tions would cut $734,000 from the ex­pense side of the bud­get, brin­ging it down from about $43 mil­lion to $42.2 mil­lion ins­tead. It al­so re­duces the ori­gi­nal 5.4 per cent tax rate in­crease nee­ded for the first draft of the bud­get to 3.6 per cent.

“I find it (tax rate in­crease) is still too high,” said Mayor Guy Des­jar­dins of Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land. “It should go down more. I think there should still be more cuts.”

Se­ve­ral mem­bers of coun­ties coun­cil agreed with a sug­ges­tion to bring the rate down to 2.5 per cent. Mayors Pierre Le­roux of Rus­sell Town­ship and Fer­nand Di­caire of Al­fred-Plan­ta­ge­net Town­ship sug­ges­ted that a 3.6 per cent could still be ac­cep­table to al­low the coun­ties to start dea­ling with both cur­rent and fu­ture as­set ma­na­ge­ment needs af­ter se­ve­ral past years of ze­ro-per cent bud­get in­creases.

A 3.6 per cent tax rate in­crease would trans­late to $36 more for the ave­rage ho­meow­ner on his or her coun­ties pro­per­ty tax bill. For now, coun­ties coun­cil just needs to ac­cept the re­vi­sions and conti­nue with its 2018 bud­get re­view sche­dule.

The draft bud­get comes back du­ring coun­ties’ com­mit­tee of the whole ses­sion in ear­ly No­vem­ber when UCPR ad­mi­nis­tra­tion gets di­rec­tions for the fi­nal 2018 bud­get plan. That comes up be­fore coun­cil for ap­pro­val at the end of No­vem­ber.

—pho­to Gregg Chamberlain

Les ré­vi­sions au pro­jet du bud­get 2018 pour les Com­tés unis de Pres­cott et Rus­sell ont per­mis de ré­duire les dé­penses de plus de 700 000 $. Ce­la porte l’aug­men­ta­tion pos­sible du taux d’im­po­si­tion à 3,6 % au lieu de 5,4 % comme il était pré­vu ini­tia­le­ment, lorsque l’ad­mi­nis­tra­tion des com­tés a pré­sen­té son pre­mier rap­port bud­gé­taire. Les maires du conseil des com­tés ont de­man­dé à l’ad­mi­nis­tra­tion de trou­ver d’autres moyens de ré­duire le bud­get et de ra­me­ner l’aug­men­ta­tion du taux d’im­po­si­tion à 2,5 %.

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