| May 24, 2007


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Feature Article - 24, 2007

North Frontenac '07 tax rate up 4.28%

by Jeff Green

What a difference a year makes.

In 2006, thanks in large to part to a whopping increase (24%) in assessed property values, North Frontenac Council was able to increase spending by 3% while decreasing the tax rate by 15%. This lowered rates to $1,191 (per $100,000 of assessment), down from $1,406 in 2005.

In 2007, the tax rate will be $1,242, a $50 increase over last year, most of which is the result of a local township budget increase.

With property assessments flat in the political fallout from the Ontario Ombudsman’s report into the workings of the Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, North Frontenac staff and council were faced with an uphill struggle as they began to consider this year’s budget.

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Property assessments actually decreased marginally (0.36%) this year in North Frontenac. As well, the township was helped by $236,000 one-time provincial grant in 2006, which was not repeated in 2007.

Among projects being funded in the 2007 budget are $200,000 in road reconstruction projects, details of which will be determined next month. This is almost $100,000 less than the road reconstruction work done in 2006.

Among new initiatives, the township is putting $50,000 into a reserve fund for a proposed new fire hall in Ompah.

Other expenditures include the building of a communications tower, with partial funding from a provincial grant.

Purchases that have been approved by council in the run up to the budget included the purchase of a new tandem dump truck; a large used bulldozer (15 tons heavier than the current dozer, which will be traded in); and the replacement of a 1991 dump truck with a 1995 tandem dump truck.

A late-minute addition to the budget was extra monies for fire suppression in light of the recent fire on Wintergreen Road, which required Ministry of Natural Resources water bombers. The township may be billed up to $100,000 for the bombers.

In furthering the multi-year budgeting process that has been a goal of both Mayor Maguire and CAO/Treasurer Cheryl Robson, township staff has prepared a preliminary budget document for 2008 outlining certain expenditures that are envisioned for that year.

After not passing their budget until August in 2005, and the beginning of July in 2006, this year’s budget was approved on May 17, which puts North Frontenac more in line with neighbouring townships.

In presenting the budget, Mayor Maguire made reference to ongoing work by the Eastern Ontario Warden’s Caucus, on which he is sitting this year as the Warden of Frontenac County. The caucus continues to lobby for the removal of social service costs from the municipal tax rolls.

“Our council controls only 56% of the tax dollars we collect. The rest goes to education and county budgets, over which we have little or no control,” he said.

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