Peterborough County proposes 2.23% property tax hike

·2 min read

Peterborough County residents may be paying 2.23 per cent more on the county portion of their property tax bills this year compared to last year.

County councillors received the draft budget for 2021 from county staff during a special virtual meeting on Thursday.

The county plans to raise an additional $1.5 million from tax dollars compared to last year, according to the draft budget, which recommends spending $48,052,395 to run the county in 2021.

Increases for salaries and benefits are impacting this year’s budget by about $403,250 and the budget levy by 0.86 per cent.

This is as a result of wage increases under collective agreements, non-union wage increases, a decrease in PCCP workplace safety and insurance program NEER charges, annualization of salaries and benefits for new positions or changed positions approved in the 2020 budget — which include purchasing supervisor and IT administrative support — and an additional summer student for the human resources department.

Shared services with the city, including housing, child care, social services and the Provincial Offences Act office, are impacting the budget by $132,323 and budget levy by 0.28 per cent.

The increase is due to an expected reduction of $139,207 in court fines, offset by Safe Restart funding, a social assistance decrease of $241,000, a child care increase of $81,839 and social housing increase of $50,725.

The increase child-case costs for 2021 are primarily related to changes within provincial funding models announced in early 2019, according to county staff. Increases within social housing are due to reserve transfer increases required to fund future capital.

Net reserve contributions are impacting the budget by $5,839,959 and budget levy by 12.55 per cent.

Outside agencies including Fairhaven, Peterborough Public Health and Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development have not requested increases that would affect the levy, said Trena Debruijn, the county’s director of finance and treasurer, but it’s not clear if these agencies can continue to operate without increases in the future.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on county operations, the one-time funding the county received from provincial and federal governments to address the COVID-19 crisis has helped mitigate most of the impact, Debruijn said.

The extent of the changes may have a long-lasting effect on county operations and it is unknown whether or not funding will continue in future years, she added.

The county will hold a public meeting on Feb. 3 to review the proposed budget and provide answers to any questions or inquiries residents may have.

The budget presentation can be accessed on the county’s website.

Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: mlentz@peterboroughdaily.com

Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner