Tiny begins budget deliberations Monday

·2 min read

Tiny Township council will begin with a 3% municipal tax increase to be whittled down to a council-approved number by the end of the three municipal budgetary meetings.

The first of such meetings is slated for Monday at 9 a.m.

The agenda, available online, provides a breakdown of how the matter will be approached with the budget presented in five sections: taxation, salaries and benefits, operation budget, capital plans, and reserves.

In the report's executive summary, staff says 2020 has been an extraordinary year, due to the pandemic, leading to use of reasonably expected surplus for 2021 expenditures.

Here, a caution is also added, "It is important to note that the level of surplus utilized for the 2021 budget will not be available in 2022 at the same levels as staff have trimmed several discretionary line items in light of the expectation that a tighter budget is required for 2021 as we hope to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic realities."

The provincial government has postponed property tax assessments for 2021 and thus Tiny's assessment base will be the same for 2021 as it was in 2020.

Further in the budget, public works is proposing an extensive list of proposed projects in 2021. Road work, drainage work, equipment purchases and bridge work dominate these proposals.

A sizeable accumulated infrastructure deficit still exists and the 2020 contribution toward the remedial Infrastructure levy, established in 2015, was $720,000. Staff is recommending council keep moving in the same direction to establish a sustainable level of infrastructure funding.

Staff is cautioning against using reserves to support recurring operational activities, since the discretionary reserve balances have been declining for the past four or five years. The surplus land sales program, established to recover some of the reserves, will not incur any revenues this year, but is proposed to be continued in 2021.

The draft budget also includes a 1% cost of living increase built in to all wages. This change equates to approximately $63,300 in salaries in 2021. The gross cost of salaries and wages for the 2021 draft budget is $127,800 lower than the 2020 budget.

The meeting will be streamed live via the township's YouTube channel.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com