PUSLINCH - Township homeowners could now be seeing a proposed township property tax increase of 3.83 per cent, instead of the previous proposed tax increase of 3.18 per cent.
Previously, the proposed township portion of the tax rate was a 3.18 per cent increase, which translated to an increase of $33 on the annual tax bill. Now, the proposed township tax increase is 3.83 per cent, which translates to an increase of $40 for the average residential property assessed at $604,700.
The blended tax increase has also changed from $109 to $116, or an overall blended tax increase of 2.03 per cent over last year.
The change occurred at Thursday’s council meeting when council finalized the four per cent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for township employees and the change in funding schedule with the 401 and Highway 6 project review of hotspots.
“Council approved the 4 per cent COLA and a portion of the funding for the 401 and Highway 6 project review of hotspots has been deferred to 2023. So, instead of being fully funded in 2022, the council decided to phase the funding in 2022 and 2023,” explained treasurer Mary Hasan in a phone interview.
At its Sept. 22 council meeting, council directed staff that funds be allocated as part of the 2022 budget process for the review of "hotspots" related to the 401 and Highway 6 Project.
The 2022 capital budget has been updated to include this project at a cost estimate of $25,000 to be tax levy funded.
Council has also approved the four per cent COLA, which they have previously authorized a two per cent placeholder increase until such time that staff report back on a more equitable method of calculating the COLA.
“We recognize that there’s still work to be done with the budget, and we asked that there’s a 2 per cent placeholder to be held. We realized that with the current environment, inflation will be a difficult thing to deal with. So, if we were to penalize staff, it’ll just bite us in the back next year,” explained Mayor James Seeley.
“We needed to find savings in the budget, I understand that, but it shouldn’t be on the backs of staff every year, and I’m not saying that’s the intent of the council, it’s just the way the policy was written. Now, we’ve found ways to defer capital project fundings while saving some money and satisfying staff and the community well.”
The total capital and operating budget is $4.6 million.
The current changes to the 2022 budget will be presented at the public information meeting on Thursday night at 7 p.m. for further input from the public before finalizing the budget at Feb. 9’s council meeting.