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Wellington North passes 2017 budget

by Olivia Rutt

KENILWORTH - Wellington North council approved a 3.5% tax levy increase for 2017 at the Feb. 27 council meeting.

The $8.39-million capital and $4.61-million operating budgets were approved unanimously (councillors Steve McCabe and Sherry Burke were absent).

CAO Mike Givens updated council on the unsuccessful bid for funding for the King Street reconstruction in Mount Forest.

Wellington North sought $800,000 from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund.

Without funding, Givens said, “It’s unlikely that this project will proceed.

“We will look at other opportunities as it relates to the funding but we were looking for just under $800,000 … to support this.”

He said the item should remain in the budget as staff continues to look for funding opportunities.

Of the total budget, approximately $7 million is collected through tax dollars, up by $236,000 over 2016.

Factoring in assessment growth, the tax increase for the average homeowner will be closer to 1.4% (or 2.3% when combined with county and education taxes).

Farmland will see the largest tax change this year, due to a jump in assessment for 2017. An average assessment for farmland went up by about $112,000, therefore township taxes will increase by about  15.5% this year.

Mayor Andy Lennox thanked staff and council for working together to “make it all happen.”

“I think we have a budget that we can be proud of for our community and I am happy to support it,” he said.

Budget highlights include:

-  a 1.6% increase to wages;

- 6.3% increase to benefits;

- $62,000 for the third contribution to Louise Marshall Hospital in Mount Forest;

- $132,300 towards Murphy Park in Mount Forest;

- bridge reconstruction on Concession 6S at $220,000;

- a plow truck at $260,000;

- $575,000 for a new pumper truck for the Mount Forest fire station;

- $670,000 for utilities, including hydro;

- $1 million for the Arthur WWTP design phase; and

- full road reconstruction projects on James Street and King Street in Mount Forest and Francis Street in Arthur, for a total of  $3.8 million.

March 10, 2017


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