Huron County draft budget proposes 12.46 per cent levy increase

HURON COUNTY – Michael Blumhagen, director of corporate services and treasurer for Huron County, began the county’s first 2023 budget meeting on Jan. 4 by saying, “It’s just a draft, but it’s a little scary at this point. I’m looking forward to working with council through this document. I always do look forward to this day, as sobering as it is.”

Blumhagen said, “It is no surprise that the current inflationary environment is really wreaking havoc with the municipal budgets. We’re seeing inflation rates tracking at 68 per cent.”

Significant labour challenges are compounding the situation, especially in healthcare operations, homes for the aged, and EMS.

Blumhagen also noted that significant supply chain issues are impacting many departments, especially their fleet vehicle replacements.

“So, not only are we seeing significant price increases, but we’re also seeing significant increases in time from order to delivery. So as a result of that, the impact to this budget before you today is quite significant,” added Blumhagen.

“Staff are currently proposing a levy increase of $5,733,057 or 12.46 per cent year over year to a total of $51,746,807.”

The average impact of the proposed budget increase on the median residential property for Huron County valued at $211,000 is $100.22.

The overall average property impact for the residential class is $122. The average per $100,000 residential assessment is an increase of $47.50.

For farmland, the increase on the median farm property valued at $985,300 is $117.02. For the class as a whole, the average increase per farm property is $117. The average per $100,000 is $11.87.

Blumhagen said in the report, “It is important to note that the tax roll for 2023 is based on the same current value assessment roll as 2022, so any changes in the assessment roll is based strictly on new net growth. There will not be any significant tax shifts in 2023 for the farm class as we have seen in the last two reassessment cycles.”

Huron County invites its residents to get involved and learn about the budget process.

“Many factors affect the county’s operating and capital budgets. Council sets priorities through strategic sessions that guide the county’s annual budget planning. County council wants to ensure financial sustainability while maintaining essential and valued services.

“Learn about key budget topics, view documents, infographics, and videos on this page. Historical budget documents, including the county’s financial statements, are available online.”

Huron County Council’s budget session is scheduled for Feb. 8 (hybrid). Council meeting agendas and livestream video access information are available on huroncounty.ca.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times