Bonfield township has drafted their 2021 operating budget and the tax levy could rise by 7.2 per cent.
The exact number has not been revealed yet, as the budget still needs to pass through council before it is officially adopted by the municipality.
However, during the township’s general government and finance committee meeting on August 10, that number is the one being suggested to council to adopt.
Peter Johnston, Bonfield’s chief administrative officer, mentioned that “from a staff point of view, this is a reasonable budget.”
He emphasized that last years’ budget saw no increase to the tax levy, and this suggested 7.2 per cent raise accounts for that.
As for why the budget is coming out in August, Johnston explained that work began in January, but “because of the unknowns with the pandemic, and the late arrival of the financial statements from 2020, we didn’t have a lot to work with.”
He also noted that “department expenses increased 5.2 per cent during the last two years,” which effects the proposed operational increase.
Moreover, costs in general are raising, a point not lost on Anne Carr, who manages the municipality’s public works department.
“The price of fuel has gone up incredibly” she said, as has metal, “so culverts saw a large increase this year.”
“The cost for calcium went up this year,” Carr added, as did “the cost of salt, as it did last year.”
“Policing is up almost $10,000 over last year,” Mayor Randall McLaren said, adding that “general government”—the cost to run everything outside of public works— “is up $74 thousand” as well.
“An additional $63 thousand dollars” has been added to the public works budget “so that’s good,” he added.
The full budget has not been released yet, as council has not approved the document, however, the numbers within the draft will most likely remain.
“I can’t find anything to carve from this budget,” Mayor McLaren said, “and while I’m very reluctant to impose the levy increase that’s coming down the pipe I hear the arguments and the basis of justification for it.”
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca