No one shows up to question proposed Guelph/Eramosa tax hike

GUELPH/ERAMOSA — No one from the public came out Wednesday to voice concern related to a budget increase that currently sits at 4.85 per cent for 2023, which is higher than recent years.

“Just to summarize the budget, we have some challenges this year,” said director of finance, Linda Cheyne.

At the Guelph/Eramosa council meeting on Wednesday, during which the public meeting was held, Cheyne provided a high level perspective of the budget.

In a basic sense, prices are going up.

“Looking at inflation, kind of high for my time here with the township, at 6.9 per cent, I know a little bit up and down,” Cheyne said.

Capital projects have significantly increased.

“But you know, the bigger one is the construction price index. And this kind of effects everything that we do, any new building, new construction and that’s sitting at 15.6 per cent,” Cheyne said.

She said that several fiscal funding sources from the provincial government are going down.

“We’re facing some provincial cuts. We were fortunate to get some good funding from the province and from the federal government. But it has been cut this year. And we’re losing $34,000 in our OMPF. And we’re facing a 15 per cent decrease in our OCIF funding,” Cheyne said.

OMPF stands for Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund. OCIF stands for Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund.

The township faces a struggle in attracting and keeping qualified employees.

“And also just like other businesses, we’re looking at labour issues. Shortages as well as you know we want to treat our staff right for staff retention, keep those good employees,” Cheyne said.

Essentially, the township needs just under $22 million to make this budget work.

“So to fund this budget that’s presented to you today, we’re looking for $21,924,162,” Cheyne said, adding that $280,000 is to be invested into a reserve allocated for infrastructure renewal.

“To continue to support the same sustainability of our infrastructure, we have included a $280,000 reserve for infrastructure renewal. We do this every year. And it’s a separate levy on top,” Cheyne said.

The township’s total revenue is just less than $14 million.

“And we will collect $13.9 million in revenues from user fees, penalty and interest,” Cheyne said.

Growth within the township is adding to the amount of taxes brought in.

The township is “also going to get $146,000 in new tax this year from those additional assessment from new growth. So all those new houses. So that helps a lot,” Cheyne said.

Taxes will have to be increased by $373,693 to cover costs.

“As presented today $373,000 additional property tax revenue is required to support this budget and this represents 4.85 per cent increase.

“You can see how it works out there. And so, on a $100,000 worth of assessment, this new taxes would increase $12.88. On a $500,000 home, people will pay $64 more to help us support this budget,” Cheyne said.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

Jesse Gault, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com