Budget talks end at 1.24 per cent rate increase

MORRISBURG – South Dundas council ended two days of budget deliberations last week cutting 2021 spending/projects to achieve a 1.24 per cent tax rate increase. That amounts to the average homeowner paying about $13.41 more property taxes in 2021 than they paid last year.

Council’s original target was 1.83 per cent but by the time they ended discussions late last Thursday afternoon they sat at the lower 1.24 per cent rate increase – a number that they were all happy with.

“This is a very lean budget,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds. “But, I think what we’ve done is reasonable.”

“Leaving it at 1.24 gives the citizens a break,” said South Dundas councillor Donald Lewis.

“It’s a budget for the times,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan.

South Dundas’ annual budget consists of about $14 million worth of expenses. Almost half of that (46%) is covered by revenue such as user fees, grants and reserves. The remaining 54 per cent of the total budget is covered by the property tax levy.

South Dundas council, knowing the pressures the pandemic has put on residents and businesses, undertook budget deliberations over two days last week, aiming to keep the budget tight enough to limit any potential tax rate increase between 1.83 and 2 per cent.

The 1.83 per cent increase is what the municipality needs to cover the cost of the Williamsburg landfill closure cost loan.

When their deliberations ended with a rate increase lower than council’s target, council opted to pass on the savings to taxpayers.

The budget is not final until the budget bylaw is approved by council. That will happen at an upcoming regular meeting.

Property tax rates include the lower tier municipal tax levy, upper tier municipal levy and education levy.

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