Perth County approves a 12.31 per-cent tax levy increase for 2024

At the regular Perth County Council meeting Feb. 15, Perth County council approved the 2024 capital and operating budgets with a 12.31 per-cent increase to the levy, totalling $22,198,354.

This is an increase of $2,432,781 over last year’s budget.

The programs and projects approved for this year's budget are influenced by the county’s corporate strategic plan for 2023 through 2026. The five main goals of the plan include growth and economic development, regionalization and service effectiveness, customer service excellence, community development and planning, and corporate sustainability.

“We acknowledge that this is a difficult tax year,” said Corey Bridges, the county’s manager of finance and treasurer, at the meeting. “Municipal staff continue to work towards maintaining current service levels and addressing corporate priorities while striving to ensure resiliency, sustainability and accountability from the corporation.

“We took a refreshed approach to the development of our streamlined budget package this year. The county is experiencing budget pressures similar to those of other municipalities across the province. This year, inflationary pressures were the primary source of increased expenses across all service areas.”

The 2024 Budget was initially presented to council in December 2023 and then later, the treasurer delivered capital and operating budget presentations over several council meetings in January.

A dedicated capital levy increase of 1.06 per cent was approved to continue to move the county’s asset management plan forward.

The operational levy increase of 11.25 per cent will ensure the maintenance of the current service levels and address corporate priorities.

“Council is confident that this budget supports the continued excellent programs delivered by the county,” said county Warden Rhonda Ehgoetz. “I look forward to seeing the completion of some exciting projects in the county in 2024.”

Some of those projects include the completion of the courthouse campus, completion of the new Official Plan, road, bridge and culvert replacement projects, public works and paramedic fleet vehicle replacements, and the regional automated external defibrillators (AED) program.

“Staff work hard each day to deliver efficient and effective services across Perth County,” said county CAO Lori Wolfe. “All of our programs and services are connected back to the goals and objectives of the county’s strategic plan, and we appreciate council’s support of that vision and the work we do.”

Amanda Modaragamage, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Stratford Times