| Apr 27, 2006


Feature Article - April 27, 2006

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Feature Article - April 27, 2006

County budget increase drops to 4.22%

by JeffGreen

An increase in the level of provincial support for ambulance services has enabled Frontenac County Council to amend their budget estimates for 2005, saving taxpayers a bit of money.

The budget had been approved last month with a 5.96% increase in the levy to taxpayers, based on what county treasurer Marion Vanbruinessen called a “conservative estimate” about the increase in provincial support for ambulance services.

Ontario counties have been lobbying the province for increased ambulance funding ever since the service was downloaded by the province several years ago. At the time the province said they would fund 50% of ambulance costs, but as costs have risen, the provincial share of funding has been dropping. By the year 2005, the province was paying only 35% of the cost of running ambulances for Frontenac County and the City of Kingston .

Flood

In February, the provincial government made a commitment to increase funding to 50% of the cost of delivering the service within the next couple of years. Funding levels for the Frontenac service in 2006 were announced just days after the county had completed its budget, and the county was able to make amendments to the budget last week.

Properties within Frontenac County have had property assessment increases averaging over 18%, and for that reason an increase in the county levy of 4.22% will be achieved in spite of a substantial tax rate decrease.

The county levy will be $282 for every $100,000 worth of property assessment this year, compared to $330 for every $100,000 worth of assessment in 2005, a decrease of 14.73%.

County taxes represent about 1/5 of the total property tax bill that ratepayers receive.

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