'This is a one-year vote for this': Peterborough County passes budget with roughly 6 per cent tax hike

Peterborough County council adopted its 2024 budget Wednesday, with a 6.29 per cent tax levy increase, equating to a 5.69 per cent tax rate increase, but not without some concern from some of its councillors.

North Kawartha Township Deputy Mayor Jim Whelan said he was voting in favour of the budget “with a caveat.”

“This is a one-year vote for this. Staff better find a way to get down to three per cent next year. I won't be voting for another budget of this size,” said Whelan.

In dollar terms, the tax levy amounts to $57,705,979, which consists of a 2.5 per cent infrastructure levy, a 2.56 per cent increase for county operations and an increase of 1.22 per cent for the shared services’ budget.

This increase in the levy translates to approximately $21.81 for every $100,000 in residential assessment.

At a Feb. 2 meeting, staff introduced five additional options for council to consider to reduce the increase from a proposed 6.6 per cent.

But during a follow up meeting on Feb. 7, council opted to approve only one additional change by increasing the administrative allocation in the paramedic services budget. This increased allocations by $300,000 and had the impact of reducing the tax levy by 0.31 per cent.

Warden Bonnie Clark called the budget “responsible and comprehensive” in a news release, following Wednesday’s council meeting.

“Peterborough County staff were tasked with presenting a budget that is both responsible and comprehensive, and they successfully fulfilled that mandate,” Clark said.

“This budget will enable the county to tackle both operational and capital infrastructure needs, all while managing the challenges of inflation and the cost of living that persistently affect our ratepayers, as well as the county's operations, finances, and those of our service provider partners,” she continued.

The full 2024 budget in digital or printable format can be found on the Peterborough County website.

Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner