| May 04, 2016

Budget in, levy up – tax rate flat

After a 30-minute in camera session with two residents, Reeve Henry Hogg wasted no time going through the agenda at a meeting of Addington Highlands Council in Flinton on Monday, May 2, racing through in 15 minutes.

Among the items on the agenda was the 2016 budget, which had been the subject of a special meeting three days earlier. All that was left to do was pass the document, which will see the levy to Addington Highlands ratepayers go up $140,000, from $2.4 million in 2015 to $2.53 million in 2016, an increase of 5.58%. Overall spending by the township will top $5.4 million in 2016, with local taxes being topped up by $1.2 million that comes from “pre-levy revenues” such as transfers from L&A County for road maintenance, user fees, etc. and a $1.65 million subsidy from the Province of Ontario.

Among the issues that were noted as contributing to this year's increase is a $108,000 (17%) increase in OPP costs. There were also increases to the fire budget and to the environmental services budget.

Reeve Hogg pointed out that although the levy is up by over 5%, that increase will not be reflected in the tax rate, which is flat. Individual ratepayers will see an increase based entirely on the amount of assessment increase that is applied to their property this year by the Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).

Joint Council meeting over fire services

A meeting was held last month between Addington Highlands and North Frontenac Council to discuss issues that have arisen in the funding of the Kaladar-Barrie Fire Department, which serves residents in both townships. Four motions came out of that meeting for consideration by each township. One dealt with a review of core services delivered by the department and two dealt with fees charged for service by the department. A fourth resolution was not related to the fire service, but had to do with medical services that both townships have an interest in. All four resolutions were passed without comment.

Waste site closure pending

At the Denbigh meeting in April, the township's waste site consultants reported that the Kaladar site is reaching the end of its usable life. At the current rate of use, it could be full within five years, but if dumping at the site is restricted to household waste only, eliminating construction and other waste, it may last up to 10 years or more.

Royce Rosenblath said that in light of that report, the township needs to assign staff to deal with all the details of diversion, closure, transfers and necessary changes to the waste site’s Certificate of Approval from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

“We could use our own staff or consultants to do this, but we need to get on it pretty soon,” he said.

The township office is short-staffed at the moment, but that will change in early June.

Councilor Bill Cox put forward a motion to defer the matter of changes to the Kaladar waste site so that it will come back to the table in early June.

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