NORTH HURON – North Huron council adopted the 2021 municipal budget at their regular meeting on Feb. 1.
The approved budget sees operating costs totalling $14,562,875.97 and capital costs totalling $2,418,194 for a combined total budget of $16,981,069.97.
The amount raised from taxation is $4,718,992.97 and the transfer from the tax stabilization reserve account is $338,066.
Operating costs include the day-to-day spending including salaries, wages, benefits, utilities and maintenance of equipment and buildings.
Capital costs cover core infrastructure; assets such as roads, bridges, water, and wastewater. Other assets include machinery and equipment, facilities and land improvements.
Director of Finance Donna White reported the 2021 budget represents a 3.47 per cent ($213,084.44) spending increase from the 2020 budget.
On a home assessed at $205,000, the municipal portion of Wingham taxes will increase $23.66 to $2,967.82. Blyth households will see their taxes increase $47.70 to $2,333.46, and East Wawanosh households will have an increase of $71.06 to $2,109.97.
The 2021 budget for capital costs include five projects that have been carried over from 2020 and totals $510,033.
The five projects from 2020 are window repair and paint at townhall, Public Works sand/salt shed and the relocation of fire equipment in Blyth.
Also, the Howson Dam site security and request for proposals project, electrical upgrades to the public works building in Wingham and the purchase of a one-ton pickup truck for the fleet, which was to be delivered in 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic.
Capital projects for 2021 include water well system controls in Wingham, well inspections in Blyth, standpipe design and work, a dechlorination project in Blyth, a new roof for the Blyth Community Centre, an accessibility ramp at town hall, new siding and doors for the daycare building, accessible washroom renovations at the Wingham Public Works building and the firehall.
The Wescast Complex ICIP project, IT security systems, a tandem truck for Blyth and a zero-turn mower for parks and cemeteries were also included in the capital budget.
White included other important items in her presentation that included:
• dedicated asset management levy – $177,826;
• Blyth Memorial Hall renovation project – $60,000 contribution (final payment)
• recreation master plan is underway – $50,000;
• a new municipal website will be up and running in 2021;
• records management – funds included in the budget to continue project;
• economic development – Hutton Heights, former Blyth Public Works buildings, demolition of Wingham Armouries building, re-development of the Wingham Trailer Park property; and
• total debt owing of $538,741.31.
White’s report said the education tax rates have been set, however Huron County’s budget has yet to be approved. Once the County’s tax rates are set, the tax rate bylaw will be brought forward for council’s approval.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times