County tax bill up $13.50
The average homeowner will pay an additional $13.50 in county taxes this year after the United Counties of SDG approved a budget of just over $41 million last Wednesday.
Just before the deliberations began on Tuesday morning, treasurer Vanessa Bennett-Metcalfe presented a draft budget that would have allowed a 5.4 per cent decrease in property tax rates and an $18.07 decrease in typical residential property taxes.
However, council elected to add almost $1.2 million to the budget’s total taxation requirements of $40,934,908. This represents a 1.2 per cent increase, which keeps pace with the rate of inflation.
Warden Jamie MacDonald wasn’t happy about this, saying he’d like to have a “zero budget” for once, but was quickly outvoted by his colleagues.
Council chose to increase the budget in order to accommodate various requests from the transportation department. Among them: a $374,000 investment to upgrade County Road 46 in Alexandria.
The route, also known as Macdonald Blvd./McDougald Street, is expected to be widely used by trucks now that truck traffic restrictions in central Alexandria are in effect.
Mr. MacDonald advocated for this repair, saying County Road 46 is in ”very poor shape.”
Of all the additional items tacked onto the 2016 budget, the repairs to County Road 46 are the second most expensive. Council also elected to spend $453,000 to repair a section of County Road 15 near Avonmore.
All in all, the draft budget was dubbed “very unusual” by Ms. Bennett-Metcalfe, who noted that it would have allowed a decrease of $23,526, or .1 per cent, from 2015 taxation requirements. This is mostly due to a more than $750,000 savings in the county’s . Ontario Provincial Police contract.
Some other budget highlights include:
A $75,000 emergency generator for the nch Patrol Garage. of.
$10,000 for anti-icing machinery on one the county’s trucks.
Deferring repairs to North Stormont’s Stoney Creek Culvert, a cost savings of $225,000, and possibly re-allocating that
money to another bridge. The transportation department has listed seven bridges that are identified as priorities. Two of them are in North Glengarry – the Campbell Municipal Drain and East Scotch River – and one W. is in South Glengarry – the ood Creek Culvert.
An allocation of $70,000 for Ro. cross culvert lining on County ad 17 in Williamstown.
Council agreed to give $ 50,000 to North Stormont Township to help pay costs incurred during last fall’s International Plowing Match. Last year, the township had paid the counties a $100,000 loan to help promote and plan for the event. By giving $50,000 back, council effectively cut that loan in half.