/Haliburton County council hopes to reduce proposed tax increase
County councillors are split on whether to continue to provide funding to the Haliburton Highlands Outdoors Association which operates the Haliburton fish hatchery.

Haliburton County council hopes to reduce proposed tax increase

By Steve Petrick

Haliburton County councillors hope to whittle down a proposed budget that would lead to a roughly three per cent tax increase to county residents.

Details on the 2022 operations and capital budget were discussed at the Wednesday, Jan. 12 county council meeting, held virtually.

A report by director of corporate services Andrea Bull showed a proposed tax levy of $20,861,271 to be shared among residents; an increase of 3.17 per cent over last year’s levy.

However, some lines on the budget are still being worked out.

Bull clarified that, since filing the report, she’s become aware of increasing insurance costs that the county will face. Meanwhile, other councillors said they believed the library board was finding savings that could offset those insurance costs.

Council voted unanimously to accept several amendments to the new budget document. The move allows staff to still look for savings before a final budget is officially approved.

“I would like to see a more wholesome report of where we’re at,” said Dysart et al Mayor Andrea Roberts. “I know it’s been a tough year, but I’d like to bring the levy lower.”

Warden Liz Danielsen said she agreed. Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt said she supported giving staff more time to “cross our t’s and dot our i’s.”

An earlier draft of the budget had council looking at a 3.21 per cent tax increase. The increase is a result of several new capital and operational expenses in county departments. This includes new initiatives in information technology, emergency services, planning, economic development, public works, building, administration and library departments.