Draft 2016 Orangeville Town budget calls for 2.22% tax hike

December 9, 2015   ·   0 Comments

If Orangeville Council chooses to neither add nor subtract anything from its 2016 draft budget, residents will be looking at a 2.22 percent tax increase, or, as Mayor Jeremy Williams put it – $5 a month for the average home-owner.

At Monday night’s Council meeting, the draft budget was presented to council to allow them to ask questions and prepare for the deliberation process in January. Staff announced prior to the presentation that this year, the budget would also be opened up for public input and questions, with comments being accepted until January 11.

The proposed budget includes $19 million in capital projects, with the 2.22 percent increase in the residential tax levy coming from several categories in the operating budget, including service level changes, growth-related changes and other items.

Prior to the budget discussion, a presentation was made on Asset Management for the town, and an analysis of the capital project gap, explaining how the Town’s current budget patterns could affect that.

While currently the gap is at about $2 million, if the Town continued forward without increasing the capital budget, their asset management levels would become poorer and the gap would grow. During the budget deliberations, it was the information from the presentation that had Councillor Sylvia Bradley skeptical about the current budget proposal.

“We just heard about out asset management plan, and that if we continue at this rate we will be moving in the wrong direction – and that’s just for infrastructure, not talking about facilities and other things,” said Councillor Bradley. “I would suggest that Council should look at the current rate and increase it incrementally, similar to how we are increasing our reserves. If we had increased it incrementally over the last few years, we would be closer to closing that gap now.”

She added that if they were closer to fixing the gap, they would also be reaping more gas tax from the government, which would also help with the capital budget each year.

“Council seriously needs to take a look at how we are going to fix this gap,” she said. “It’s real, it’s there, and it’s going to cost us money whether we like it or not.”

Mayor Williams felt that there wasn’t as much of a need to be concerned, as the gov- ernment had made promises for ‘boatloads’ of money for infrastructure to municipalities.

“I’m really hopeful that rather than loading down taxpayers to reduce the capital short- fall, that we can capitalize on some of the supposed money coming from the federal government.”

Earlier this fall, Mayor Williams appointed Councillor Nick Garisto as the Chair of the finance committee again this year. While Councillor Garisto felt that staff had worked hard to bring in such a low budget, he said he also feels there is more work to be done.

“I’m happy with the numbers right now, but would be a lot happier if the numbers would go down,” he said. “We’re not going to do it here tonight, but we should be looking at that during budget deliberations. I think it’s a fair budget as it is, but there is always a place to give taxpayers a bigger break.”

One of the concerns Councillor Scott Wilson presented was that Council could not rely on federal promises that had not been fulfilled yet, and the capital concerns need to be addressed.

He said the 2.2 percent draft “is the absolute minimum budget, and we’ve seen tonight from the asset management presentation that we are going to fall to a gap in alarming rates. I don’t want that to be my legacy on Council, that we leave a town with roads that we can’t drive on. That comment on five dollars a month, it should go up, because we’re not going to fix anything on that amount. I am definitely not going to support lowering the budget at all.”

Councillor Garisto, however, felt that while Councillor Wilson could have his opinion and could vote however he wanted, the impact on the taxpayers needed to be considered.

“If [Councillor Wilson] wants to stick the taxpayers with more money, then he can pass his vote on it,” he said. “In the end there needs to be a compromise so that we are supporting the people that voted us in. I would caution council over the holidays to make sure that they review this budget. There are ways we can massage it and give it a break, but that’s my opinion.”

The motion to pass the 2016 draft budget to Council’s Finance and Administration Committee was passed unanimously.

A Budget Summary in the 281-page bud- get document says the proposed 2016 Budget would require a municipal tax rate increase of 2.22% “to fund current operations and extend essential service levels to growth areas. As directed by Council at the September 28th meeting, the proposed budget includes additional tax revenues based on an estimate for phase-in assessment of $664,493 and for growth of $495,875.

The budget guidelines report … detailed comparators for inflation purposes and reported that the Municipal Price Index (MPI) more closely resembles the purchases made by municipal governments than the Consumer Price Index (CPI). For 2016 the Town of Milton calculated MPI at 3.54% and the City of Waterloo calculated MPI at 2.17%. The CPI for Ontario as of October 2015 was 0.9% over the prior year – excluding energy it is 2.1% over 2014.”

The average Orangeville residential property is assessed at $344,907 for 2016, which is 1.46% higher than 2015.

“The proposed budget as presented to Council would see an increase of $63.31 on the Town’s portion of the tax levy. This increase does not factor in any phase-in assessment. If property owners experience a phase-in assessment increase or decrease over last year, it will impact the overall tax dollar amount owed,” the summary said.

The tax-supported portion of the overall $73,941,765 budget (inclusive of capital projects and revenue from water and waste- water charges) would be $42,014,732, up $1,844,381 from this year’s $40,170,351.

Comments and questions from the public will be open from now until January 11. Anyone interested in submitting commentary can send their concerns and questions to

Finance and Administration Committee meetings (involving the whole council) will take place on January 11 and 25, and February 8 and 29. To review a copy of the draft budget, visit

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