Wellington North wrestles with potential 8% tax increase

WELLINGTON NORTH — If council decides to add three new staff members for Wellington North, it could push the 2023 tax increase to just over eight per cent.

The three positions all together would cost $286,455. That includes an executive officer/assistant, a director of community services and a co-op position.

The director of community services would be particularly expensive at $123,032 per year.

Council considered its options at its Monday meeting in Kenilworth as it works through its 2023 budget process.

Mayor Andy Lennox stated that residents cannot afford a steep increase in taxes.

“I think that’s more than our ... some of our residents ... can withstand given the current climate,” Lennox said.

He went on to say inflation is hard enough on the community.

“You know we’ve seen inflation at 6.8 is, I believe, the number you shared with us. Lots of people are feeling a lot of pain with just that inflation. And now we’re asking them to pay more because our costs have gone up,” Lennox said to the staff and councillors present.

The mayor suggested getting the tax increase down to the level of inflation.

“I could live with asking for inflation or slightly above inflation,” Lennox said.

Coun. Lisa Hern protested the idea of increasing the taxes to over eight per cent.

“At the eight point whatever, I’m just going to blank out at eight per cent. I personally can’t even afford that. So, I don’t think I can wish that upon anyone. Things are just too hard and too uncertain on so many different levels right now,” Hern said.

Coun. Penny Renken concurred that the tax increase will have to be minimized as much as possible.

“I don’t think the eight per cent would be tolerable for the rest of the residents. And keep it as low as possible and look at every other option we have to us to see if we can fill in the gaps somewhere,” Renken said.

Staff are to come back with a report on the matter with multiple tax options for council’s consideration. Next meeting is March 20.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

Jesse Gault, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com