By Chad Ingram
Algonquin Highlands residents may want to brace for another property tax hike in 2016 much of it brought on by the township’s increasing OPP bill.
2016 will be the second-year in a five-year phase-in of the province’s new OPP billing model which redistributed OPP costs evenly on a per household basis throughout the province.
Households include seasonal residences.
During that five-year period Haliburton County’s collective OPP bill (OPP costs are handled at the lower-tier level) will jump from approximately $3.3 to $6.5 million.
In Algonquin Highlands the OPP bill will increase by more than 200 per cent rising from about $330000 per annum to approximately $1 million.
Since the funding formula was forced on municipalities by the province last year the county’s lower-tier councils opted to pass those costs – out of their control – directly to the taxpayer and Algonquin Highlands will be doing that again for 2016.
It will amount to an increase of nearly six per cent.
“We had a long discussion and decided like last year that OPP is OPP and there’s nothing we can do even though it alone is a 5.8 per cent increase” Reeve Carol Moffatt told the paper after council had its first preliminary budget discussion on Nov. 5.
Moffatt said council has asked staff to limit the levy increase for the township’s activities at 1.5 per cent and that a line-by-line review would be conducted to try to find savings.
The township’s treasurer has asked department heads to submit their respective budgets to her by Jan. 8 and expects council to hold final budget deliberations Feb. 18 and 19.