By Jenn Watt
Published Feb. 13 2018
Staff have been able to find savings across several departments at the Township of Minden Hills lowering the financial shortfall in the proposed 2018 budget.
At its budget standing committee meeting Feb. 8 members of council were presented with a revised draft budget by CAO/treasurer Lorrie Blanchard which lowers the proposed levy increase from the 9.73 per cent presented in January to 8.61 per cent.
The shortfall in the third draft budget is $628045 of which 40 per cent is from the roads department 42 per cent for landfills and six per cent emergency preparedness.
“This is still a big number but definitely glad to see there’s some savings from the second to the third round” said Mayor Brent Devolin.
“Certainly I think these things are investments in our community in our infrastructure that are necessary … if we’re spending money that’s actually going to protect our infrastructure nobody’s happy with an increase but they understand the logic behind it” he said.
Councillor Pam Sayne cautioned that increasing property taxes couldn’t be the long-term solution and that some residents were being pushed to their financial limits.
“We have to find a system that is a little bit more fair. We have a situation where we have a big gap between some of those who are living on the margins and those who are more comfortable” she said.
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario has taken on the issue of infrastructure funding and the financial shortfall faced by the municipal level of government. Sayne referenced their work in particular their request for a one per cent sales tax to fund roads bridges and transit.
Deputy Mayor Cheryl Murdoch said the roads and landfill increases needed to happen and if this council doesn’t raise taxes the next would have to.
“None of us like to raise taxes because we’re all paying them and it’s hard. However we do like the services they provide. If we don’t bite the bullet with what’s being suggested here this year it would be my opinion that next year if we don’t bite this [bullet] we’ll be looking at a double-digit figure just to catch up” she said.
There will be a public meeting on the budget Feb. 22.