Council approves 2022 budget with 0.8% tax levy

December 16, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville Council recently approved its consolidated budget for 2022, totalling approximately $60 million, with a 0.83 per cent or $310,952 tax levy increase.

This means taxpayers will soon be seeing a 0.83 per cent rise in their property tax bills from the municipality. For a house assessed at $400,000, the annual increase will be $76.

The Town’s operating budget, which totals $37.7 million, and capital budget, totalling $22.2 million in new projects, and another roughly $34 million in projects that had funds committed from former budgets, was presented on Monday (Dec. 13) and Tuesday (Dec. 14).

“The Town delivers a historically lean budget without compromising service levels that our community members have come to rely upon while accomplishing Council’s strategic priorities,” said Nadini Syed, Orangeville’s treasurer.

When looking at capital investments by division, $15.3 million is being spent on Public Works, $14 million is allocated for water with another $6.7 million for wastewater, facilities is $9.7 million, fire services is $6.1 million, corporate allocations is $1.1 million, Information Technology is $676,000, and transit is $576,000.

On the capital side of the budget, a majority of it is funded through Orangeville’s reserves, and there’s no tax levy increase stemming from it, as the 0.83 per cent increase comes from the operating side of the budget.

Added Items to Capital Budget

Coun. Lisa Post said the budget really lines up with Council’s strategic priorities, which councillors highlighted at the beginning of their new term in 2018.

“From improved communications to transparency, fiscal responsibility – this budget’s really the perfect budget to end our council term that really encompasses everything that us as a council wanted to do,” she noted.

Coun. Post brought up an additional item, which is a new sidewalk running along the most northern part of First Street by Highway 10, costing $130,000.

The sidewalk is intended to safely connect the neighbourhoods on that side of Town with the many businesses on First Street, as well as offer a safe walkway to residents of the incoming affordable transitional housing development at 236 First Street.

Most of the cost for the sidewalk is for its barrier curb, which protects residents from vehicles coming off Hwy 10, as well as a guard handrail to protect pedestrians from stormwater ponds.

On the same topic of sidewalks, Coun. Todd Taylor also put a motion forward to include 150 additional trees for $90,000 in the 2022 Budget to help catch up on somewhat of backlog of tree plantings in Orangeville.

In addition, he put forward a motion to completely clear up the Town’s backlog of sidewalk work, which will fix 205 sidewalk bays that have severe cracks, as well as 26 bays that are offset or have surface issues for $103,000.

The three asks, which total $320,000, were approved 7-0 and sourced from the Town’s general capital reserves, which had room to be taken from, according to Syed.

Issues With Maintenance

During the Tuesday budget meeting, Coun. Taylor asked Ray Osmond, manager of community services, about the low levels of service over the past year for lawn care and parks throughout Orangeville.

“Mr. Osmond with all due respect… [calling] a spade a spade, it just wasn’t very good,” Coun. Talyor remarked.

“Last year, I know we had some issues with the pandemic and certainly not trying to cast aspersions, but there was there was significant issues with lawn maintenance and whatnot.”

Coun. Taylor then asked if there is enough staff and money in the budget to ensure there’s proper lawn and parks maintenance next year.

Osmond responded by saying he thinks the department has the equipment, staff and supervisor capacity to tackle all of the community, and bring about improvements.

He said this year’s issues stemmed from his department not operating at capacity, as they couldn’t have a full functioning crew due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I will be the first to say yeah, we may have had some challenges on the park side, and we definitely had challenges in our infrastructure services side,” he said. “I’m confident that we’ll deliver in 2022.”

Community Services

When looking at the community services’ portion of the budget, there are four major projects.

The first, and most costly one, is the replacement of pools at the Alder Recreation Centre with stainless steel liners, which is now costing $6.1 million.

“One of the big things about this particular project is its creation, and its development and design is for longevity. And we want to make sure this asset is not just last a long time, but last to the full life expectancy of the Alder Recreation Complex,” said Osmond.

He also noted the Town’s aquatics programs generate a lot of revenue, which helps to bring about financial sustainability and contribute to reserves.

In addition, Osmond noted that the project will be carbon neutral once operational.

The second major project is the fire station, which is also slated to have an efficient design, making it as carbon neutral as possible. This may create opportunities for grant funding to offset costs.

The third key project for community services is Orangeville’s trail system.

The department has finished 1,900 linear metres of trail along the Veterans Way trail and is now waiting for the Credit Valley Conservation Authority to provide approvals to go through a wetland area.

Osmond noted the trail has an efficient design.

“It is designed with asphalt because it’s a multi-use trail, which means you can have lots of different things on it besides just walking and jogging, or more for winter use is for strollers, for wheelchairs, for skateboards, for any number of things that are on wheels and so on,” he explained.

“It’s for active transportation, our cycling people and walkers…will all get to access it. It’s also going to be one of the major routes as a corridor spine right through the community that connects the east boundary to the west boundary of Orangeville.”

Another reason for the asphalt layer is it is thick enough to drive AV equipment on and when it needs to be replaced in 20-25 years, only the top layer needs to be removed, making maintenance easier.

The last project is the design and construction of a salt shed and expansion to the Town’s operations centre.

Infrastructure Services

On the infrastructure services side, improvements to water metre billing are underway.

The department is assessing new water meter technologies to support billing based on water consumption.

The current meters are over 20 years old and need to be visited physically to get a reading, so readings only happen once every one to two months. They also aren’t the most accurate

A new system will restore accuracy and improve communications with residents.

Currently, if someone’s toilet is leaking or something is left on, it could be a month or two before they see a massive bill, noted Gary Kocialek, manager of infrastructure services.

“With the new technology, it can be programmed to read the meter every day or every hour,” he said. “It’ll identify trends in terms of individual consumption.”

The program can notify staff when something’s wrong and they can let residents know something’s wrong so they can avoid overpaying.

In terms of a timeline for updating the water metering system, Kocialek said his department anticipates it will be ready around April to June (Q2) of next year.

Another key project for infrastructure services is Centennial Road reconstruction.

The project is phased into two years and phase one from C Line to Tideman is substantially complete.

Phase two of the project runs easterly towards Dawson Road and will include traffic signals at the Dawson intersection. This phase will begin as soon as the construction season starts next year.

The last major project mentioned by Kocialek is boulevard tree inventory analysis, which tracks the trees and their condition in Orangeville.

Corporate Services

Some of the important initiatives for Orangeville’s Corporate Services department include financial asset management, records management, managing online services, improving staff tools to boost efficiency, and customer service.

One of the key investments in Corporate Services at the Town is its cybersecurity program, which is now a requirement for their insurance providers.

“You don’t have to look very far to hear about breaches, security vulnerabilities and hacks,” said Andrea McKinney, manager of Corporate Services for the Town. “

She also made note of ongoing investments in hardware, with the continuing of investments into laptops and other technology.

As part of vehicle life cycle replacement, two electric vehicles are going to next going to be purchased for the Town’s bylaw team, said McKinney.

“This is intended to step forward, the greening of municipal vehicles, reduce fuel consumption and our corporate greenhouse gas emissions,” she explained.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.