By Sue Tiffin
Minden Hills council began looking at the 2022 draft budget on Oct. 14, about two months early compared to prior years.
“The intent is to provide council with the same number of meetings to review and discuss the budget, with the ultimate goal of approving the budget during the month of January,” said a report from Trisha McKibbin, CAO/clerk. “Passing of the budget during the first month of the year will enable staff to release tenders and procurement documents earlier and begin projects in the first quarter of the year.”
While the first draft of the budget shows a 14.5 per cent increase over the 2021 levy, McKibbin noted in her report that “staff recognize that this is not an acceptable increase and look forward to budget discussions in order to work with council on reaching a final budget target.”
Last year, the budget was passed in March after five rounds of talks, the levy increase being 3.75 per cent over the 2020 budget, equating to a tax rate increase of 3.08 per cent for residents.
This year, the most significant increase to the budget again is wages and benefits, which shows a combined cost increase of $478,085 and which McKibbin said is a result of the 1.7 per cent cost of living adjustment, progression of staff on the salary grid, the full-cost of staff to operationalize the new recreation complex and additional staff in the building, bylaw and planning department.
The public is able to tune in to budget discussions, which take place during council meetings that are currently being broadcast live virtually via YouTube. The next meeting takes place on Oct. 28. For more information visit mindenhills.ca. Staff reports presented to council are available at mindenhills.civicweb.net.