The Municipal Council of Merrickville-Wolford presented their draft budget to the community in two public meetings at the end of last week and early this week.
The overall proposal is to have a 4.7% tax increase with 2.7% going towards operational and capital costs, and 2% to go into an infrastructure reserve fund.
Announcing a tax increase is not something the Municipality takes lightly. At the last council meeting Councillor Kim Weedmark expressed his concern about the increase, especially in the case of some farmers who have seen their MPAC assessments increase by 100%. “We are looking at a tax increase on all levels,” he said.
However, as Deputy Mayor Ann Barr noted at the meeting, council needs to look ahead to ensure that the Municipality remains sustainable. “What other mechanism could you see to pay for the future?” she asked.
Roads and infrastructure are an issue for all municipalities, says Mayor David Nash. Many municipalities have to scramble to pay for the high costs of fixing crumbling infrastructure. “Increasing reserves is very important,” says CAO John Regan. “It’s a good year to start.”
The 2% increase will ensure that $54,000 is put into the reserves for future infrastructure projects.