South Stormont budget sees 1.8 per cent tax increase

South Stormont, ON – Council of the Township of Stormont have now confirmed the 2017 budget impacts and highlights. At its regular meeting on March 8, 2017, Council confirmed that the municipal tax rate will increase by the rate of inflation of 1.8% which translates to $7.54 over 2016 for every $100,000 in residential assessment. The county tax rate will also increase by inflation, and at this time the education tax rate which is set by the province, is not known. The Corporation’s total budget is $16.59 Million.

In 2017, despite residential assessments decreasing the Township is growing, resulting in an overall higher assessment value and increased tax dollars.

“The township was excited to learn of our positive population growth and we hope this will continue. However new homes equates to more services required which results in additional expenses”, said Mayor Bancroft in a media release Thursday. “South Stormont’s infrastructure commitments, especially in anticipation of receiving an updated Asset Management Plan, are enormous. Infrastructure investment is essential. There are a lot of capital assets requiring attention and, quite frankly, not enough federal and provincial dollars to assist us.”

The 2017 municipal budget included routine operational expenses, additional dollars for reserves, along with the following highlights of major municipal projects:

  • The main portion of the Fire and Rescue project dollars is for the construction of the St. Andrews West Fire Station at a cost of $1.7 M. This project is being completed without any outside funding sources;
  • 2017 equipment purchases include a new Public Works loader;
  • Road works include sidewalk replacement, Fairground Drive and Cedar Street culverts, Woodlands Road, Anderson Road West, MacMillan Bridge approach slabs, Mille Roches Road, Sunset Drive on Moulinette Island and capital street lighting for a total capital investment of $1.883 M. Federal gas tax funds and provincial formula OCIF funding will assist with these capital projects;
  • Planning projects will see the completion of development land sales projects for a total of $322,000;
  • Parks and Recreation will be investing $501,223 for projects such as arena renovations, further development of the Ingleside Community Park, an accessible lift for the St. Andrews West pool, and automatic doors for the Ingleside and Long Sault Libraries;
  • The five Water and Wastewater Plants will also be receiving capital upgrades however, of more significance, is the Ingleside Sewer Capacity Study;
  • There will be a continuation of the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) program offered to business owners. Last year’s program dollars recognized eight hundred and sixty thousand dollars ($860,000) of private investment; and,
  • To further promote the township’s accountability and transparency measures, a new HD camera with audio will be installed in Council Chambers.

Pursuant to South Stormont’s Strategic Plan, an innovative surface treatment called Fog Seal will be applied to a 1.9 kilometer stretch of Anderson Road. Fog seal is a surface treatment overlay consisting of an emulsion and fine aggregate.

The application is intended to extend the life of the road surface by adhering to the stone that snow plows would typically kick out or loosen in the winter, therefore adding strength and longevity. There is also an aesthetic appeal in that it closely resembles asphalt in finished appearance.

Director of Public Works Ross Gellately said, “This is a new treatment in South Stormont and as far as I know has not been used in SD&G previously.”

Ratepayers are assured the level of service for 2017 remains status quo. The 2017 budget documents are available on South Stormont’s website. The financial position is expected to be presented to the public by the municipal auditor following the completion of the 2016 year-end audit.