Budget is up, tax rate is down

After two full days of deliberations, March 5th and March 12th, the South Dundas 2012 budget is now complete.

At the first meeting on March 5th, Mayor Steven Byvelds began by reminding council that “it’s still tough times out there.”

Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald said, “our budget process is evolving every year. The municipality is in a good financial position with a healthy reserve.”

As for the 2012 budget, “it’s really a no-frills budget. There’s really nothing in this budget that’s not needed. The capital budget is up. That’s where most of the increase is located.”

According to Treasurer Shannon Geraghty, there is a 3.5 per cent increase, dollar for dollar, over last year’s budget. This year’s budget is $4,886,565 whereas last year, in 2011, the budget was $4,721,453.

In terms of money allocated for capital projects, last year council spent $1,190,214 on capital projects. This year, the budget for capital projects has increased to $1,657,113 with the bulk being taken up by the roads department ($1,532,361) and the fire department ($225,855).

The tax rate for South Dundas has gone down by 3.24 per cent.

This doesn’t mean that South Dundas resident’s taxes are going down by 3.24 per cent, however. Each home’s taxes are based on the MPAC (Municipal Propertay Assessment Corporation) as well as the combination of tax rates from three sources: South Dundas township; United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, and the school board.

Geraghty explained that “right now we’re looking at tax rates decreasing, but people will be paying more because their assessments (MPAC) are increasing.”

There is a 5.06 per cent average increase on assessments due to MPAC’s four-year phase in. If an individual’s assessment is over that percentage, they could see an increase. If their assessment is below that percentage, they could see a decrease.

According to Geraghty, last year’s average assessment was $149,090, which equated to $739.90 in taxes for the municipal portion of the tax bill. 

Following the same format this year, adding in the 5.06 per cent assessment increase, the average assessment for 2012 could be $156,634, which would equate to $752.15 in municipal taxes.

The Counties of SD&G council will meet for budget discussions again on  March 19th.

The South Dundas budget will be officially passed at the upcoming March 20th council meeting.

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