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Town’s initial draft budget calls for 2.9 percent tax hike

December 14, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

Orangeville Council got its first look at the 2019 municipal budget on Monday and it’s safe to say no one particularly liked what they saw.

As the community’s seven newly elected officials plan to embark on what several  have described as a new era of fiscal responsibility, it was a concern, but probably not a surprise, to hear Town Treasurer Marc Villeneuve state that, without the benefit of new assessments, the proposed budget would require a 4.13 percent total tax increase for local services. 

In what, again, is only the first draft of next year’s budget, Mr. Villeneuve explained that municipal expenses are slated to rise by approximately $1.45 million next year, up to $36.2 million in 2019 from $34.8 million in 2018. 

As has been the case for several years, the Orangeville Police Service makes up the largest amount of that number, with its budget expected to come in at about the same as the roughly $8.1 million budgeted for 2018. Mr. Villeneuve noted the local Police Services Board will vote on OPS’s 2019 budget on Jan. 15. Other big outlays such as for Public Works ($4.95 million budgeted for 2019), the Orangeville Fire Department ($3.85 million for 2019) and Corporate Allocations ($7.1 million) are projected to see a combined increase of around $950,000 next year. 

On the capital side, the Town is anticipating spending $10 million across 11 departments in 2019. Public Works ($4.3 million) will see the bulk of the funds, with several road projects slated for next year. Water ($2.15 million), Parks ($1.5 million) and Facilities ($876,000) are listed as the three next most expensive capital expenses, with more details on specific projects to be revealed during budget deliberations, which begin on Jan. 21. 

Some good news for local residents, Mr. Villeneuve announced the Town had seen approximately 1.24 percent assessment growth in 2018. As such, of the 4.13 percent increase in taxes the municipality has to raise to offset rising costs, 1.24 percent will be covered by that growth. That would decrease the overall tax impact on local residents to 2.9 percent. 

Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh was the first to speak up following the half-hour presentation, indicating he was looking forward to next month’s budget deliberations where he hopes to bring costs down.

“I campaigned on a cost of living increase and look forward to working with staff to deliver that goes,” Mr. Macintosh said. 

Mayor Sandy Brown commended staff for their work in providing council with its first draft budget. He guessed that a significant portion of the increase in costs came as a result of the previous provincial government’s minimum wage increase – which rose from $11.60 per hour to $14 per hour. 

After listening to Deputy Mayor Macintosh talk about a cost of living increase, Coun. Todd Taylor spoke up, hinting he was hoping to do a little better than that for local residents.

“I would caution all people in Orangeville of getting settled into a cost of living (tax) raise,” Mr. Taylor said. “Personally, I think we should be looking at a budget that comes in under cost of living. That’s what I’ll be aiming for in 2019.”

Local residents will have access to the first draft of Orangeville’s 2019 budget on Monday (Dec. 17) by visiting www.orangeville.ca/treasury.



         

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