Tudor and Cashel reexamine and pass 2023 draft budget with zero per cent increase

·6 min read

At a special meeting of the committee of the whole at 10 a.m. on May 2, Tudor and Cashel council reexamined the 2023 draft budget, which reflected changes they had requested staff make during their last meeting in April. With those changes in place and after some discussion and queries from the committee, the tax levy increase for 2023 was zero per cent if residents’ assessed values did not change. This revised 2023 draft budget was subsequently approved by council at their regular meeting at 1 p.m.

At the May 2 Tudor and Cashel committee of the whole meeting, the committee took another look at the 2023 draft budget, which they had asked Nancy Carrol, the clerk and treasurer, and staff to make changes to back at their April meeting in order to decrease the proposed tax levy increase of 4.4 per cent. This they were able to do, bringing the tax levy increase down to zero per cent for 2023.

Mayor Dave Hederson had introduced the first 2023 draft budget presentation back at the April 4 committee of the whole meeting and said his goal was to meet last year’s mill rate and they were at that point only about $13,666 over that mark or just under one per cent, from doing so, so it was doable.

In this first draft of the 2023 budget, the 2023 expenses came out to $2,827,681.25 while the 2023 revenues came out to $1,413,906.25, a difference of $1,413,775. That meant that in 2023, $1,413,775 needed to be raised in taxes, which was up from the $1,354,155.64 that needed to be raised in taxes last year. That was a $59,619.36 difference, which translated into a 4.4 per cent tax increase for 2023. Carrol said back in April that the largest budget impact items were rock breaking which had gone up by 300 per cent and diesel which had risen by 100 per cent.

Ultimately, Carrol and staff was able to bring down the amount that needed to be raised by taxation to $1,400,031.23 (from $1,413,775, a decrease of $13,743.77), which while still up $45,875.59 from 2022, there was no increase to the tax rate from last year if a resident’s assessed value hadn’t changed. Hederson, who has a professional finance background, told The Bancroft Times on May 6 that this means if a resident had no increase in their assessed value in 2023, their township taxes will not increase, with the township mill rate multiplied by assessed value equaling the township tax rate.

“Yes, the actual dollar value of the township levy increased by $45,876 or 3.4 per cent, however, the reason why this increase did not drive an increase in the mill rate is because we experienced real growth in our assessed value base of 3.4 per cent. This compares to 1.5 per cent for all of Hastings County and underscores the importance of driving real growth in the assessment base. When that happens, all boats float. This 3.4 per cent real growth absorbed the impact of the dollar increase in the levy,” he says.

According to Carrol, she and staff were able to decrease the 2023 draft budget numbers by having another month to look at the figures and have more specific amounts to work with, with respect to each line item. She said the big items changed were in Roads, specifically the amount earmarked to be spent on Class 6B Roads winter maintenance, which went from $30,000 to $60,000, but is now being covered by the reserves versus being covered by the operating budget.

Carrol said she was also able to drop the funds allocated to fuel costs by $20,000, which she moved to gravel, as the gravel needs for the coming year were quite high, with $464,000 earmarked for gravel ($150,000 in the operating budget and $314,000 in the capital budget).

Carrol mentioned that she’d added a new line called Infrastructure Repairs, with $5,000 inserted in it, as the shoulder of Weslemkoon Lake Road needs grading due to heavy rains, and the township doesn’t have the equipment to do it. However, she said she’d found somebody to do it for $135 per hour.

Carrol said that she had a pleasant surprise with the consultant fees, if council approves her RFP recommendation, which came in at $32,000 versus the $40,000 she had thought it would be, a savings of $8,000.

As she had gotten consultant RFP back (which is yet to be approved by council), Carrol said that she had added $1,000 to the Bridge/Road Needs Study for a total of $4,000.

For policing, Carrol had initially put in last year’s expenditure, but the cost had actually gone down by $24,000 this year, so that was reflected in the second draft of the budget.

Carrol also made some changes in the Waste Site expenditures, as she now knew how many hours to apply for and the staffing levels required for this year.

Next, Carrol did a verbal report to council regarding requirements under Ontario regulation 289-09 for rates of taxation for 2023, and informed them that capital amortization and landfill post-closure expenses are not included in the 2023 budget. She asked council to acknowledge this and they did so by resolution.

Hederson told council that the only thing he would say is that after much discussion over two committee of the whole meetings, council had arrived at a budget with a zero per cent increase in the mill rate year over year from 2022.

“We will end up at the same 0.7888 per cent which means that if your assessed value has not gone up over the year your taxes for the township will not change. Your taxes for schoolboard will also not change. The only tax increase is at the county level, where they have increased their rate to 3.19762 per cent, which is beyond our control. But for purposes of this bylaw, it’s just the 0.7888 per cent that we’re approving,” he says.

With no further questions or discussion, Hederson made a motion to have the second draft of the 2023 budget moved forward to the council meeting at 1 p.m. for passage. While the operating budget was subsequently passed by council at this meeting, the capital budget still needs to be passed and will be done as soon as possible.

Carrol told The Bancroft Times on May 8 that she felt that council was able to adopt a fair budget that will support the services that are provided by the township for 2023.

“The levy for 2023 has increased, but the municipal mill rate that is charged on assessment has not changed,” she says. “We were fortunate to have experienced growth in our assessment over the past year, this growth has off set the need for any mill rate increases.”

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times