Council tags Orangeville ratepayers with a 2.35% tax increase for 2023

January 27, 2023   ·   0 Comments


We’re all in this together.

That’s how, during the second to last budget council meeting Jan. 17, Ray Osmond, the town’s acting CAO, recommended Orangeville taxpayers and the town’s own staff view the 2023 municipal capital and operating budgets.

“We’re living in an era right now where we got to be flexible,” he said. “I think, if we’re flexible, we can make a lot of progress. And that’s what we all want to do.”

And so it was that Orangeville council agreed during its budget meeting on Jan. 24 to sign off on a spending plan for 2023 that entails a tax increase of 2.35 per cent. That’s less than the other option considered that would have hoisted a 3.5 per cent increase on residents’ tax bills.

Among the council requests was a reduction in the tax levy by 0.75 per cent from 3.1 per cent to achieve a lower 2.35 per cent budget increase to taxpayers. Council increased the community grant by $95,000 and provided $15,000 to Theatre Orangeville.

Throughout the process, the majority of council leaned toward the smaller tax jump. But Mayor Lisa Post asked Nandini Syed, the town’s treasurer, to work $150,000 into the purse to allow the town to undertake an organization/service level review.

Post said there’s been much talk about capacity issues within the town. To address any issues and move forward, Post said it’s prudent to do a service level review and an organizational review to better understand where there are service opportunities and gaps.

“We’ve been listening,” Post said. “We’ve been listening to the GMs, we’ve been listening to all the managers, we’ve been listening to the staff’s concerns about capacity. We want to make sure that we’re taking care of it the right way. It’s really important that we move forward in a way that’s fiscally responsible but is also responsible to the staff who are asking for help.”

If capacity issues are more significant than what’s currently thought, then it is paramount they are addressed. First, you have to find out the whole picture.

Post said she initially thought perhaps $80,000 or even $100,000 would be sufficient to get a full picture of the town’s capacity issues. But, along with pretty much everything else in this new pandemic-induced inflation-soaked reality, the cost of consultants has increased.

The $150,000 is a “high-end cap” on what would be spent, she said. The plan is for the town’s management team to have a clearer picture of the issues before the task to ink the 2024 municipal budget begins.

“Staff is then given a complete business analysis on what’s needed to run the organization in the most effective way,” Post said.

Deputy Mayor Todd Taylor said he was against the idea of pushing coin to a consultant, but it is a necessary expense.

“The public won’t understand or won’t like the idea of a consultant, they won’t like the idea of the additional money,” Taylor said. “But I would liken it to we’re going to chop some trees down and we really, really do need to sharpen our axe here before we do that.”

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