Orangeville ratepayers could see 4.5% tax increase

November 30, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Little population growth against inflation in Orangeville is expected to have a hand in a 4.5 per cent tax increase next year.

Town council heard during its Nov. 27 meeting that, if the budget were to be accepted as it is, average property owners would see a hit of $145 added to their 2024 tax bills annually.

The Town of Orangeville also collects the taxes on behalf of Dufferin County and the Upper Grand District School Board. The combination of all three levies makes the total levy collected from property owners.

“The budget is a plan, a plan that’s based on a series of estimates,” said Patrick Kelly, the town’s treasurer. “It’s our mission as staff to provide the best information for council to make informed decisions on service delivery and capital investments.”

Despite Orangeville often being called a growing community, assessment growth has been relatively slow in recent years. Growth has been projected at 0.5 per cent, which would bring a $199,510 revenue bump for 2024.

“In an environment of low or slower assessment growth and increasing community demands, the current tax base is expected to carry the cost of enhancements in service levels,” Kelly said.

“When assessment growth is higher, the new assessment will cover increased operating costs without impacting the existing tax base as significantly.”

Population growth also adds bottom-line pressure. But, if managed effectively, growth-related costs should be recoverable from the growth revenues, resulting in minimal impact on tax rates.

Municipalities are challenged in upfronting critical infrastructure costs to support development that is on the horizon. Compounding this, new provincial housing legislation could jeopardize the ability to collect growth-related revenues from development charges and parkland fees to fund growth-related infrastructure investments.

“Effective budgeting in any year requires staff to balance strategic priorities, fiscal prudence, and value for money for the taxpayers,” said David Smith, the town’s CAO.

He said resiliency is paramount in working to ink a balanced budget during economic instability.

“This has been a challenging year, but staff have worked hard to find efficiencies in operating costs and revenues, recalibrating the budget for a reasonable levy adjustment,” Smith said.

Orangeville’s 2024 operating and capital budget is projected to be $125.5 million.

That equates to $45.6 million in operating expenses with $79.9 million in capital expenditures next year.

“This budget will maintain all existing levels of service, provide for responsible growth, and is designed to improve corporate capacity and future readiness,” Kelly said.

“The needs of the community have been carefully considered and spending has been balanced over a number of years to limit levy impacts.”

According to a press release from the town, the Canadian inflation rate has cooled to three per cent.

The latest data indicates inflation of 3.1 per cent over the past 12 months. However, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – which represents the inflation rate on a basket of goods – does not reflect many of the expenses incurred by a municipality, especially those within the capital budget.

CPI is based on pricing for food, shelter, household operations, furnishings and equipment, clothing and footwear, transportation, and more. 

“Passing a budget with an increase lower than the rate of inflation means cost increases need to be absorbed by existing funding, which can lead to reduced service levels,” deputy treasurer Mandip Jhajj said in a Town of Orangeville press release.

As infrastructure ages, funds must be committed for proper maintenance, repair, and replacement, Kelly said. The 2024 Capital Budget carefully considered and identified high-priority projects and deferred others, where possible, to limit debt loads.

“The town has witnessed a critical infrastructure deficit that has increased each year,” he said. “Staff have worked hard to balance an increased demand for services with fiscal responsibilities – the proposed Budget 2024 is a responsible financial plan for the town for the upcoming fiscal year.”

Council will delve deeper into the proposed budget at public meetings scheduled for Dec. 4 and 5. It is anticipated the consolidated budget will be approved before the year’s end.  

“A budget is much stronger and a better depiction of community needs the more the public are engaged in that process,” Kelly said.

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