As Orangeville Council debates, budgets in place across county

April 15, 2015   ·   0 Comments

With no end in sight to Orangeville Council’s budget deliberations, all but two of the other local councils in Dufferin have passed their own 2015 budgets.

Generally, the results are an increase in property tax rates for most of the lower-tier municipalities, except for the towns of Shelburne and Grand Valley, which will only see increases resulting from 2012 property assessments by The Municipal Assessment Corporation (MPAC). Only the townships of Amaranth and East Garafraxa have not yet passed their budgets.

Heather Boston, Treasurer of Mulmur Township, reports that a 20% decrease in Ontario grants for 2015 are to be expected again in 2016, putting more demands on the Township’s resources. “Our largest capital project in 2015 is the investing of $300,000 into the solar panel project,” she said. “That will generate approximately $900,000 over the next 20 years.”  The Township will also purchase two pieces of large equipment and replace a large culvert. The result is an increase in property taxes of $26 per $100,000 of residential assessment.

Mono residents will enjoy a tiny decrease in the Mono portion of their property tax, but the average homeowner will see an overall increase of slightly over 2% from 2014, mainly because of higher assessment figures.

Treasurer Les J. Halucha said the town’s portion of the tax bill will be up 2.8% only because of a roll-in of assessment increases. The Mono tax levy also rose about 2.8%, “based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) change, October 2013 to October 2014. Council sets its inflation rate for the upcoming year based on the CPI for October when it was released in November … when we normally release our first budget draft.”

Grand Valley Council passed their budget April 14th and CAO Jane Wilson informed the Citizen that the municipality was able to lower property taxes by a slim margin of 0.195% as the Town was not carrying the cost of any large capital projects in 2015. In 2014 Grand Valley put $450,000 into a storm sewer upgrade; this year there will be a few road and sidewalk upgrades, but no major capital works projects. Any increases in property taxes will be due to MPAC assessments.

Sue Stone, Treasurer and CAO of both East Garafraxa and Amaranth, reports there are no budget discussions this week, and will have further budget meetings later this month when the staff will have more details for Council’s consideration.

“At this point, the discussions have been preliminary,” she said, “focusing on our capital works and purchases proposed for 2015, and a complete budget package is in the works.”

Shelburne was one of the first municipalities to pass their 2015 budget back in February under the leadership of town treasurer Carol Sweeney. Highlights included a 0% increase to property taxes; any increase in property tax would be assessment-related. MPAC re-evaluates the value of all properties in the province every four years.

Ms. Sweeney said the costs “to manage new development projects and to co-ordinate and evaluate a crucial Water Inflow and Infiltration Project are the two drivers in increased Planning Department costs for Shelburne. The overall operating costs for the Town will increase by 8%.”

On April 2nd, Melancthon township passed its 2015 Capital and Operating Budget as well as the Tax Levy By-Law. Three drafts had been presented to Council since February, “with various changes made to bring down the initial increase, which is partially attributed to a decrease in provincial funding,” said Treasurer Wendy Atkinson. As the Township saw an increase in assessment of approximately 5.37%, the increase to the Melancthon portion of the tax rate was held to 2.8%, meaning an increase for Melancthon’s portion of $12.16 for every $100,000 of assessment for ratepayers. Capital projects in the 2015 budget include Culvert 2027, a new road department building, and some resurfacing, as well as the purchase of two grader packers.

All property tax bills incorporate levies by the local municipality, Dufferin County and the Province (for education). The County portion of individual bills will be up 0.65 per cent from 2014, while the education levy will be down slightly.

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