Southgate's public meeting on the budget passes quietly

·1 min read

Only one resident participated in the 9 a.m. public meeting on the 2021 Southgate budget held earlier this month.

She was concerned with the plan to turn some roads back to gravel. Public Works Manager Jim Ellis answered her questions.

Taxpayers in Southgate will see a 1.5 percent blended rate. The general taxation budget is closely nudging $8 million for the year - $7.99 million, treasurer Liam Gott said.

Now that Grey County has approved its budget, the blended tax rate is more solid, with only the education figure still to come.

Council had said from the outset that they wanted to keep the increase low - some even suggesting no change to the local tax rate.

Sixty percent of the taxes collected by the township actually go to Southgate, the treasurer’s report showed, with the rest directed to the county and school boards.

The budget process began in November with the 10-year capital forecast. It anticipates lagoon and other sewage system upgrades and the construction of a water tower in 2022.

The asset management strategy called for increasing the levy for infrastructure by about five percent each year. The treasurer noted that this does not translate directly to the tax rate increase.

Instead, the increase for infrastructures in 2021 is about half that, or 2.4 percent.

The budget was made anticipating normal operations in 2021. The township has received COVID-19 special funding. Part of that money will be used for COVID-19 by-law/property standards enforcement, the treasurer’s report said.

Later in the meeting, Coun. Barb Dobreen suggested that it could also be used to offset losses from closing the arena.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald