Drummond/North Elmsley tax rates to increase 2%

·2 min read

Drummond/North Elmsley council is looking at passing the 2021 budget on Jan. 11 with a two per cent tax increase.

“We only had one budget meeting back in December, and there weren’t very many drastic cuts in the budget,” said Reeve Steve Fournier in a phone interview Jan. 8.

The biggest item on the budget, at a little over $100,000, is a brand-new financial system to be used for payroll and taxes. Instead of reinventing the wheel, Fournier said the township will be buying the same hardware and software that other municipalities in Lanark county already have in place.

Perhaps as a result of the pandemic measures for physical distancing, Fournier said that Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) costs decreased and slashed about $25,000 from the budget. “People are behaving well,” he said.

Fournier said that the township will not be buying new vehicles this year, but will be purchasing land for the construction of a bigger salt/sand shed, as well as upgrading a new sound system for council chambers.

“It was an obsolete (sound) system, plus with all the plastic shields we’ve been using it’s been hard to hear,” he added.

Two small, aging bridges—Armstrong Road Bridge and Buttermilk Hill Bridge—will be rebuilt, pending grants from the government. Fournier wanted the township to be “shovel ready” in the spring for the two projects.

A major project for 2021 will be the reconstruction of two roads in Innisville.

With more people staying at home due to the pandemic, building permits for decks and additions have been higher this year—at 150 permits, according to the reeve. There are about 30 new housing builds in the township per year, and the township is “on track for that," said Fournier.

To support the community through the pandemic, some of the township’s contribution to the county has gone toward social services “for housing and to help (families) with increased child-care (costs),” the reeve said.

Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News