East Ferris passed its 2022 budget with a two percent tax levy increase, which represents an additional $118,513 the municipality will collect. Council wanted to keep the increase at around two per cent, and to accomplish that, the municipality drew “approximately” $290,000 from reserves “to balance the year” explained East Ferris’ chief administrative officer, Jason Trottier.
“Without reserves, we would have been at 6.94 per cent” increase to the levy, Trottier explained. “We didn’t want that,” he added. Drafting the budget went smoothly, but it’s a lot of work combing through “line by line” to prepare something to bring to council’s consideration.
In total, the operating budget has $8,374,839 to keep East Ferris going. The capital budget “is a little over nine million on its own,” Trottier clarified, “which is fairly high, we don’t usually have a budget that high, but we have the new municipal office included this year at five million dollars.”
That new office is certainly the biggest ticket item in the capitol budget, and there is also $800,000 allocated to replace the municipal works garage that was ruined by fire this past spring.
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Overall, Trottier is glad both budgets are “fairly status quo,” and one of the main reasons the municipality had to dip into reserves was “rising fuel costs.” Insurance costs are also creeping up, an issue affecting many municipalities, Trottier noted.
Add record high inflation into the mix, and the municipality’s costs are rising. Fuel, propane, hydro add up faster now. “We’ve added no new staff compliment, so that’s not what’s driving the budget” higher, Trottier said.
Included within the budget is money for a pay equity compensation review, which is mandated, and does not happen every year. Trottier also mentioned the municipality has set aside some funds for a “road needs study” to determine the quality of East Ferris’ roads and what needs to be done with them.
Besides funding the study, “we’re putting about $800,000 into roads,” including surface treatment on Derland Road and Quae Quae Road. “We’re also doing a gravel road program in the south end, which is Astorville Road,” and “some asphalt work” on Village Road.
Trottier also mentioned the municipality will be putting some money into the Corbeil Recreation Hub, specifically, a cover for the outdoor rink and a new playground structure.
“We have healthy reserves,” Trottier said, noting that the municipality doesn’t have many projects that carry over year to year, “so I would say we’re in a good financial position.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca