Property taxes to rise 3.28 per cent in Haldimand

Funding major projects, increasing services and keeping up with inflation will see property owners in Haldimand County pay higher taxes in 2023.

Residential property taxes will increase 3.28 per cent this year to fund an operating budget of $80.3 million.

For a property assessed at $282,000, the annual tax hike works out to $112.

The budget, approved by council on Thursday, includes money for temporary hires to shepherd major projects such as Caledonia’s new fire and EMS station, the end of a multi-year gravel road conversion program and a redesign of the municipal website.

Tax dollars will also be used to bolster IT security, add staff to the building department to speed up decisions on building permits, boost the county’s forestry management program in response to an uptick in demand from residents, and add a manager of municipal infrastructure to oversee all construction related to land development.

“Thanks to the hard work and diligence of staff, we have a budget that balances maintaining the services our residents value with making investments to ensure Haldimand remains a prosperous, vibrant community for future generations,” Mayor Shelley Ann Bentley said in a statement.

The increase of 3.28 per cent is a percentage point higher than last year’s tax hike, reflecting the fiscal reality of budgeting during a time of high inflation, rising costs, and “uncertain” provincial funding, said county spokesperson Kyra Hayes.

The proposed tax hike was five per cent, but council and staff whittled that figure down during budget deliberations.

“Staff conducted a rigorous review of controllable costs and did not bring forward any new initiatives that weren’t urgent, required by legislation or wouldn’t directly benefit the public,” said Craig Manley, chief administrative officer.

“Through this review, staff have developed a budget that addresses the county’s current needs, keeps the tax impact lower than what many other municipalities are facing, and employs strategic foresight to ensure our strong financial position is sustained.”

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator