/Five per cent tax increase in Minden Hills 

Five per cent tax increase in Minden Hills 

By Chad Ingram

Published March 2 2017

Minden Hills residents can expect a 5.13 per cent increase in their lower-tier property taxation as councillors passed the 2017 budget during a Feb. 23 meeting.

That brings the amount of taxation to $3.37 per every $1000 of assessment up from $3.21 last year.

The budget represents $15.3 million in spending $7.2 million of which will be levied from taxation. Last year’s tax levy was approximately $6.9 million.

Approximately $1.9 million will be spent on general government; $4.7 million on protective services which includes policing and the fire and bylaw departments; just over $4 million on transportation services which includes the roads department; more than $2 million on environmental services which includes the operation of Minden’s water and sewer systems; $1.9 million on recreation and culture; $430000 on planning and development; and just more than $90000 on health services.

The township will spend $1.9 million on a new fire hall on Highway 35 which it will pay for using money from reserves.

More than one per cent of the increase is to cover the jump in the township’s OPP bill which will rise by $104000 to a total of $1.95 million in 2017.

This year is the third year of a five-year phase-in of a new OPP billing formula that redistributes total OPP costs throughout the province on a per household basis. Since seasonal residences count as households cottage country communities are being hit hard by the formula with the collective OPP bill for Haliburton County’s four townships doubling from approximately $3 million to approximately $6 million during the five-year period.

OPP officers received a 2.65 per cent wage increase for 2015 and 1.95 per cent wage increase for 2016. Under an arbitrated wage settlement with the Ontario Provincial Police Association officers will receive a 1.9 per cent increase for 2017 and a 1.75 per cent increase for 2018.

Because those cost increases are out of municipal control Minden Hills council and the councils of Haliburton County’s other lower-tier townships typically opt to pass those costs directly to taxpayers.

Minden Hills staff will receive a 1.75 per cent increase in wages for 2017.

Water and sewer rates will remain unchanged for the year.