By Chad Ingram
Residents in Algonquin Highlands canexpect their property taxes to increase 5.2 per cent in 2016 aftercouncillors passed this year's budget at a March 17 meeting.
That tax increase will amount to anadditional $21.06 for every $100000 of property assessment. While in2015 residents paid $644.26 for every $100000 of assessment thatfigure will now be $665.32.
Most of the taxation increase isattributable to a $240000 spike in Algonquin Highlands's OPP billfor 2016 which brings its total policing bill to nearly $740000.This year is the second-year of a five-year phase-in of theprovince's new OPP billing framework which redistributes total OPPcosts on a per household basis throughout the province. Becauseseasonal residences qualify as households cottaging communities suchas the townships of Haliburton County are getting hit hard andbecause the increase is outside of municipal control the county'sfour lower-tier councils have opted to pass those increased costsdirectly to taxpayers.
Algonquin Highlands's overall tax levywill rise by 7.73 per cent the policing increase representing 5.78of that total. The municipality's operational increase is just lessthan one per cent at .99 and new taxable growth will add .96 percent.
About $4.4 million of the township's budget will be levied through taxation.
There is $560000 worth of work plannedfor Airport Road. Tar and chip resurfacing is also planned for anumber of roadways including Algonquin Outfitters Harris Tom Paris WindyPoint Gervais Elliot Oxtongue Landfill Blue Spruce roads andportions of Russell Landing Road.
There will be $12000 of work done onthe dock at landing at Raven Lake south of Dorset the firedepartment is getting two new rescue vehicles and the township issubmitting an application for solar power installations at its newpublic works garage.
About $800000 will be drawn from the township’s reserves duringthe year more than half of that going towards an addition to thetownship office on North Shore Road. Construction on that projectwill take place though spring and summer.
Township staff will receive a 1.5 per cent cost of livingincrease.
As of Dec. 31 2015 Algonquin Highlands’s reserves sat at about$4.2 million. By the end of this year they are projected to beapproximately $3.4 million.
There will be a 3.85 tax rate increase at the upper-tier level thisyear and the education rate has not yet been released. Lower-tiertaxation constitutes 43 per cent of residents' tax bills the uppertier 28 and the school board 29.