Pembroke residents to find a 2.95% increase on the tax bill this year

Pembroke -- City council announced last week the municipal portion on its tax bill will increase by 2.95 per cent this year.

Contained in Pembroke’s $78.8 million budget is an even split with $39.4 million used for operations and the remaining $39.4 million earmarked for various capital works projects.

Overall, in 2023, a Pembroke property owner with an average residential assessment of $185,000 will be paying $155 more this year in combined property taxes, garbage and waste-water and sewer fees. This represents an increase of $12.92 per month compared to the 2022 figure. Of the $155 increase, $82 represents the property tax increase.

One bit of good news is the announcement that waste management rates for garbage collection and disposal and the city’s contribution to the Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre remains at $223.

However, some residents may feel the punch when they turn on the water taps only to find this service is increasing 5.7 per cent. That is in addition to an increase of just under 10 percent for water serviced with a meter.

The sewer service metered rate is going up by 6.9 per cent. What that means for the typical homeowner is an overall increase of $73 for water and sewer service.

$39 Million For Capital Projects

The city has earmarked $39.4 million for capital projects. Some of the money has already been set aside with $5.4 million for upkeep of city buildings, facilities and parks.

Among the biggest projects are an infusion of dollars for roads and bridges and $600,000 will be invested towards modernizing the city’s equipment and vehicle fleet.

Deputy-Mayor Brian Abdallah said the ability of council to deliver a 2.95 percent increase while at the same time continue to deliver key services was challenging. Among those challenges is the ongoing commitment to ensure the city’s infrastructure is maintained as required under the city’s Asset Management Plan.

“This budget was pressured by many factors beyond the city’s control,” he said. “We have gone through a historical inflation rate, a global pandemic, supply chain bottlenecks, increased insurance rates and shared services rates from the County of Renfrew.”

“Putting off infrastructure projects for a later date only results in increased costs down the road. No one at the council table wants a tax increase and I believe that is what we have achieved with this budget.”

Some of the capital expenditures are $2.4 million for reconstruction of Pembroke Street West; $4.8 million for water works on Bennett Street; $3.8 million for phase two of road reconstruction on Nelson Street from the lift station to William Street, and $8.3 million to continue the twinning of the Townline sanitary sewer.

Smaller projects include $345,000 for resurfacing on Broadview Drive, Mackay Street and Maple Avenue, $75,000 to replace the Cecil Street Park play structure, $20,000 to resurface the Rotary Park tennis courts, and $65,000 for a new compressor at the Pembroke and Area Community Centre.

$255,000 Earmarked For Aquatic Centre Reserves

Deputy-Mayor Abdallah said the $255,000 reserve contribution for the new aquatic centre is also a key part of the city’s commitment to long-term economic development.

“The new aquatic complex project is moving forward as planned and the city is committed to seeing the project become a reality,” he said. “We have applied for upper-tier government funding programs; we are meeting with area municipalities about potential funding partnerships, and plans are in the works about a major fundraising campaign.”

He said it is impossible for Pembroke to fund a new aquatic complex without upper government funding. He has been a longtime supporter of a new aquatic complex because he points out it will be used by many communities and is seen as a regional project because it will help to retain and attract new residents to the community.

Now that the city has established the municipal portion for ratepayers, the residents of Pembroke will find out in the next few months the value of their homes and financial portion of their tax bill as determined by MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation). The local school boards will also be determined in the same time period.

Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader