By Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Municipality of North Grenville held its budget presentation to the media on February 11 to field questions over the draft 2022 budget. One key theme of the budget is to maintain the level of Municipal services which residents expect in a growing Municipality, while also continuing to work toward modernization of such areas as planning and software, in order to find efficiencies that save taxpayers’ money.
The budget presentation commended the achievements of some of the Municipality’s departments last year. Something that many residents were likely waiting to find out about, was whether property taxes would increase this year. The answer is “yes” – the draft budget proposes a Municipal rate increase of 1.9%, and an estimated increase of 2.5% on the Counties side. For an average household, this will mean an increase of about $83 for 2022’s tax bill, although this number is dependent on the assessed value of the property.
The proposed increase would support the rising cost of several 2022 operating expenses for the Municipality, including salaries, contracted professional services, and more. These increased costs would also be offset by a few expenses which are expected to decrease, such as policing costs, and fees and interest charges. The Municipality is also proposing to transfer significantly less (just over $462,000 less) to the reserve fund this year – a 22.1% decrease from last year.
Many residents will be happy to learn that there is no proposed change in the water and sewer rate for the year. Of course, the fee paid for these services depends on water consumption rates, so individual households may still see changes in what they pay this year, depending on water usage.
On the subject of the budget, Mayor Nancy Peckford told the Times, “Given North Grenville’s strong rate of growth, and commitment to fostering a high quality of life, Council recognizes the need to continue to focus on infrastructure (roads and facilities), promoting a wide range of housing options, updating our parks and recreation amenities for the benefit of all residents at all life stages, as well as modernizing our Municipality’s capacity to serve its residents and businesses well.”
Two public consultation sessions were planned to seek feedback from residents on the proposed budget. One took place on February 14, and the other is planned for February 16 at 6:30 pm. These sessions are virtual, via the Zoom platform, and those wishing to attend must RSVP to [email protected] for the Zoom link. The draft budget will be presented and deliberated at the February 22 Council meeting, with the final budget presented on March 2.
The current draft budget is available for public review at www.northgrenville.ca/budget (the PDF is downloadable via a link on the right hand side of the page).