United Counties passes budget

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Council voted to maintain the 2017 tax rate when passing its 2018 budget at the Counties Council meeting Thursday. The United Counties will collect $38.9 million from property taxpayers this year. The approved budget provides for total expenditures of $100-million. Capital expenditures account for $13.5 million. The total levy increase is 3.49%.

“This budget provides for the hiring of four full-time paramedics, which will increase the number of staffed ambulances for response on nights from five to six,” said Warden Robin Jones. In addition, the Leeds Grenville Paramedic Service will implement the Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP) program with the goal of having five paramedics trained and certified by September 2018.

“The Public Works Division budget provides for some additional operational and management resources to enable the department to focus and enhance its capital program,” Warden Jones said. The Capital Program includes the rehabilitation of four bridges and approximately 35 kilometres of roads, including culverts, guiderails, shoulders and paving.

An average residential property assessment in Leeds and Grenville is approximately $220,000. The average tax increase is $15.00 for the average residential property. However, the impact varies for each taxpayer depending on the phase-in of the assessments over a four-year period. Leeds and Grenville ratepayers could see a small increase or decrease in their taxes depending upon the 2018 phase-in value of their assessments.

Council was able to increase service levels in both Paramedic Service and Public Works. The budget also introduced a dedicated hospital levy of ½ % which amounts to $186,096 for 2018.

A breakdown of the operating budget expenditures shows the largest piece of the pie is for Ontario Works at 22.77%, followed by transportation services costs of 17.17%. Community

Housing budget is 12.68 % and the Paramedic Service budget is 13.61%. Operating expenses are up by 5.31% overall.

The 2018 capital budget of $13.5 million includes $11.3 million for public works projects. The overall capital budget decreased from last year’s total of $12.7 million. Road and infrastructure work accounts for 84.11% of capital expenditures. Paramedic Service take up 4.59%, followed by 4.28% for County Properties, 2.23% for Community Housing, 1.37% for Corporate Services, and 3.31% for Maple View Lodge.

The taxation base includes real growth (new assessment) of $378,085, or an increase of 0.97%. The change in assessment due to the phase-in is $934,244 as property values in the residential, commercial and farm property classes increased. For more information, contact Treasurer, Pat Huffman at 613-342-3840, ext. 2468.

Upcoming meetings: Committee of the Whole Tuesday, April 3; Joint Services Committee Wednesday, April 4, and regular Counties Council on Thursday, April 19. All regular meetings begin at 9 am in the Council Chambers at 25 Central Avenue, Brockville. For more information, contact County Clerk Lesley Todd at 613-342-3840, ext. 2454.

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