Mono Council approves budget requiring 1.7 percent tax increase

November 24, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Mono Council has approved their 2018 budget, which will see a 1.7 percent tax increase in the township’s portion of property tax bills.

For the average Mono property assessed at $600,000, the increase equates to an increase of $39.

At the November 14 council meeting, the main topic was the approval of next year’s budget, presented by Treasurer Les J. Halucha. Council held a special council meeting this past Monday afternoon (November 20) to finish the budget.

Total expenditures for 2018 are projected at $13,368,659 against total revenues of $13,053,463, leaving a $315,196 shortfall to be trimmed.

The expenditures for the town were broken down into each of their component parts. Transportation accounted for the most, at 52 percent. Protection services will cost 19 percent, and general government services 13 percent. Recreation expenditures will account for 11 percent, while planning and development and environmental represent the least, at four percent and one percent respectively.

Mr. Halucha noted that growth this year was at two per cent, a little more than the inflation of 1.8 percent. 2018 growth is expected to outstrip inflation significantly, with a 2.5 percent growth against a 1.7 percent inflation increase.

It was noted that the town’s OPP costs would be up three per cent, while fire costs will be down, as the number of false alarms has dropped since the adoption of charging for repetitive false alarms.

Several options were laid out for council, including adding the entire $315,196 shortfall to the tax levy, which would mean a 6.1 percent tax increase, or accepting a two percent tax increase, adding $21,463 to the levy, as well as the desired option of keeping to 1.7 percent, the current rate of general inflation.

Council then reviewed the entire budget proposal, clause by clause, with most members agreeing on where to cut and by how much.

However, Mr. Halucha advised council “it’s a tough budget to predict.”

Chiefly, it’s because of the damage done to the town during the June 23 flooding. RJ Burnside and Associates Limited gave a report to council earlier this fall that gave damage estimates to the town’s infrastructure at just over $150,000, mainly for road and bridge repairs.

Mr. Halucha also told council that the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) would be down 15 per cent next year, from the last three year’s annual fund of $321,400 to $273,190.

Councillor Fred Nix voiced his concern  about the proposed hiring of a full-time bylaw officer for the town, which would cost $181,860, including items like gas and a vehicle.

“When you put these numbers in front of us, we can’t afford it. I’m against this idea,” he said. Council members agreed, trimming the shortfall significantly.

Councillors also agreed to cut the town’s Emergency Response Reserve by half to $50,000.

The budget was eventually brought down to $12,990,763, and council unanimously approved the budget, and the 1.7 percent tax increase for 2018.

Council at their next meeting will finalize the budget, and then pass it as a bylaw at their December meeting.

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