Perth County Council approves 2022 budget with 5.9% increase in levies

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Perth County Council passed, in principle, the county’s 2022 budget with a 5.9% levy increase on Thursday morning.

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Perth County will collect about $1 million more from taxpayers this year in 2021 after the county council approved the county’s 2022 budget, along with an $18.1 million tax levy, on Thursday.

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This year’s levy represents a 5.9 percent increase from the $17.1 million collected from county ratepayers last year. However, after accounting for more than $450,000 in municipal growth countywide in 2021, County Treasurer Corey Bridges said the net levy increase was about 3.3%.

“I would like to see the increase come down. However, I think we got through that pretty well,” the adviser said. Bob Wilhelm said at Thursday’s meeting. “I’d like to point out areas where we can reduce (the impact on taxpayers), but I can’t. I think the staff have done a great job and I would be willing to go ahead and put a motion for us to approve this budget.

Board approval came after staff presented draft operating budgets for each department and answered questions from advisers during two meetings. In this operating budget, the county expects to generate about $32.1 million in revenue — an increase of about 6.8% over last year’s budgeted revenue — while incurring nearly 46, $9 million in expenses, also up about 6.7% from last year’s budgeted expenses. .

That will leave area ratepayers paying nearly $14.7 million for county operations in addition to the county’s $3.4 million capital tax.

The bulk of the county’s operating spending comes from the county’s public works and paramedic departments, which councilors reviewed on Thursday.

Across its roads, facilities, fleet and administrative divisions, the public works department is expected to spend more than $15.4 million this year while generating nearly $11.3 million in revenue, leaving approximately 4, $1 million coming from the royalty, an increase of about $200,000 from 2021.

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County Public Works Director John McClelland attributed the rise primarily to rising material and contract costs. McClelland also noted that the facility’s operating budget of nearly $2.7 million this year includes funding for an additional maintenance worker at an annual cost of between $69,000 and $79,000 to look after grass cutting and snow removal at Perth County Courthouse, Perth County Paramedic Services Headquarters and Perth County. Archives building in Stratford in a bid to reduce rising costs of general contracts.

As for the operating budget for county paramedic services, this department is expected to spend more than $15.9 million this year and bring in nearly $12.4 million, leaving county taxpayers to pay nearly $3.6 million. for an increase of less than 1% compared to last year.

Chief Paramedics Mike Adair told advisers his department’s budget includes a new full-time logistics coordinator position to provide behind-the-scenes support and ensure paramedics are ready to respond to calls; increased technology costs, including improved mobile connectivity in the field; leadership training for front-line managers; and eight new government-funded positions, including a mobile integrated health officer, an administrative employee and six paramedics.

Elsewhere in the county’s operating budget, councilors voted to increase the amount budgeted for tree planting grants for the county’s four lower-tier municipalities from $15,000 to $25,000, while approving $18,000 of the County Levy Stabilization Reserve to support several objectives outlined in a work plan by the County Affordable and Accessible Housing Committee to support educational initiatives, policy development and the creation of affordable housing resources for builders.

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Based on 2016 assessment values ​​and current county tax policy, this year’s budget will result in approximately 3.21% tax increases across all property classes. For the owner of a single-family home assessed at the median value of $259,000, that means a nearly $22 increase in the county’s share of their property tax bill this year.

Meanwhile, the owner of farmland assessed in 2016 at the median value of approximately $1.5M will pay $31.50 in additional taxes, the owner of an apartment building assessed at $807,000 will pay $68 $.50 in additional taxes, the owner of a small commercial property valued at $181,000 would pay $19 more, and the owner of an industrial property valued at the median value of $365,000 would pay $61 more in taxes This year.

Once the County Budget Bylaw 2022 has been passed by council at their next meeting, councilors will have an opportunity to discuss Perth County tax policy to determine whether the tax burden should be shifted from one category of property to another.

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