Picton, ON – Council approved today the 2023 tax-supported operating budget of $71.6 million. The tax-supported capital budget for 2023 is $19.9 million following the decisions made by Council today.
“Despite facing a number of budget pressures beyond our control, Council made the decision to maintain service levels and invest in high-priority areas such as health care and infrastructure,” Mayor Steve Ferguson says. “Asking residents and businesses to pay more is never easy. That’s why we looked to save money wherever possible and expanded our financial relief program to help individuals and families who need it the most.”
The municipal operating budget includes a 7.9 per cent tax increase or 5.8 per cent after assessment growth. The 2023 operating budget will result in an estimated increase of $57.99 on an average assessment of $100,000.
Council also passed the rate-supported operating budget for water and wastewater services of $11.4 million. Water and wastewater rates will continue to follow the rate schedule set by Council in 2021.
Municipal Financial Relief Program expanded
Council unanimously approved the continuation of the Municipal Financial Relief Program to support low-income households in Prince Edward County. The program, which began as a pilot in 2022, will be offered with expanded eligibility in 2023.
Households earning less than $32,240 (single income) or $64,480 (family income) will be able to apply to one of two streams of the program:
- Qualifying tenants who pay for water and wastewater services can apply for a credit of up to $350 on their water bill.
- Qualifying home owners can apply for a credit of up to $750 on their property tax account.
In addition, Council directed staff to look at ways to provide a municipal financial relief grant to rural renters in 2024.
Long-term care redevelopment update
During the budget deliberations, staff provided Council with an update on the long-term care home redevelopment. Despite best efforts, the project is unable to complete the design in time to meet the provincial timelines and is ineligible for the recently announced accelerated provincial funding. Council deferred undertaking the debt for this project in 2023, and staff committed to continue to work toward getting the project shovel ready before the end of this year.
“The County, like many other municipalities, desperately needs provincial funding to redevelop our long-term care facility but cannot take advantage of this accelerated funding,” Mayor Ferguson says. “Over the next couple of months, I intend to actively lobby the provincial government, the Minister of Long-Term Care, and our local MPP and strongly urge them to provide another round of accelerated funding in the future.”
Additional Budget Highlights
- $427,390 to support several funding requests from community groups including:
- Physician recruitment ($250,000, offset by $100,000 unspent in 2022)
- Food security ($20,000, distributed to eight entities/programs)
- Prince Edward Fitness and Aquatic Centre ($70,000)
- Prince Edward Learning Centre Tax Program ($60,000)
- Community Care for Seniors ($13,450 + $13,940 in-kind)
- $2,224,700 for road surface maintenance and $598,500 for roadside maintenance in 2023.
- Earlier this year, Council directed staff to transfer the majority of the County’s portion of the Municipal Accommodation Tax ($700,000) to the Reserve for Roads Construction
- $247,069 in total for the three streams of the Municipal Community Grants Program administered by The County Foundation ($189,716 for grants over $5,000; $42,353 for in-kind grants; and, $15,000 for grants under $5,000)
- $120,000 for a municipal lawyer with the funds coming from savings realized through a reduction in external legal fees
The final budget documents will be posted on the County website next week.
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