Feature article January 27, 2005LAND O' LAKES NewsWeb Home
Second draft of County budget calls for a 10% levy increase
by Jeff Green
It is still only a draft, but the budget presented to County Council by staff last week calls for a 10% increase in the County levy.
A 10% increase is very much in line with what other counties are experiencing, commented County Chief Administrative Officer Elizabeth Fulton. It doesnt help our taxpayers, but it is a common thread that I am aware of.
Among the pressures on the budget are an increase of about 5% that results from the pending arbitration settlement with the City of Kingston over the funding of shared services under the Local Services Realignment agreement. The City has argued that it was overpaying for the services as the agreement was originally written, and this has led to a long-standing dispute that is finally coming to a conclusion.
This increase in costs for shared programs is offset to a certain extent by funding from the provincial government that is paid directly to the townships, but that funding has covered less and less of the costs of those programs in recent years (see Community Reinvestment Funding)
The proposed increase, which amounted to 10.41%, included an enhancement of the ambulance service. If the enhancement does not survive to the final budget, it would cut the increase down by about 2%. The budget has been reduced from the original draft, which called for a 19.4% increase, by some trimming in various departments and by taking money out of accumulated reserve funds to pay for some one-time capital costs.
County Council discussed the draft budget on January 19, moving the discussion into an in camera session.
The proposed budget was presented to a meeting of councillors from all four townships in the County on January 27 at 7 pm at the Sydenham Council Chambers.
The County budget is should be approved on February 16.