Thursday, January 27, 2022

2022 Draft Budgets Presented to Council

Members of Meaford’s Council will be busy over the holidays scouring the 2022 draft budgets which were presented during Council’s December 13 meeting.

With a public engagement session scheduled for Wednesday, January 5 at the Woodford Community Centre (6:30 pm), councillors have three weeks to familiarize themselves with the operating and capital budgets, which call for a 5.6 percent property tax rate increase (municipal portion) in 2022.

CAO Rob Armstrong advised Council that, while the draft operating budget for 2022 requires increased funding of just over $1 million, or 6.96 percent over 2021, real assessment growth is anticipated to generate $210,000, requiring less of an increase for current ratepayers.

Included in the draft base budget is a 1 percent cost of living adjustment for municipal staff, a minor reduction in OMPF funding, and the use of $130,000 from the Waste Management Reserve in order to offset costs in 2022 as was done in 2021.

Not included in the base budgets presented to Council is an increase in provincial OCIF funding, doubling the $426,000 received in previous years, nor any budget enhancements such as winter maintenance of the Georgian Trail, or the addition of a municipal enforcement vehicle as well as seasonal municipal enforcement staff.

Both water and wastewater services will require an increase in funding of 8 percent each in 2022, however Armstrong advised Council that the increase for current users of the service will be less thanks to increased growth in the municipality.

In the capital budget, $9.6 million is to be dedicated to infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, and park facilities.

In July of this year, Council approved a framework from which the 2022 municipal budgets will be developed. The framework approved at Council’s July 26 meeting establishes a number of parameters to help form the 2022 budgets, however it was stressed that the framework is a guiding document that is not binding, and can be adjusted throughout the months’ long budgeting process.

The approval of the 2022 budget framework included the following considerations:

That Committee of the Whole recommend Council of the Municipality of Meaford:

1. Direct staff to prepare a draft budget inclusive of a 1% tax levy increase dedicated for roads capital funding;

2. Direct staff to prepare a draft budget inclusive of a 1% tax levy increase dedicated for bridge/structure capital funding;

3. Direct staff to prepare a draft budget inclusive of a 0.5% tax levy increase dedicated for facility capital funding;

4. Direct Staff to prepare draft tax and user pay operating budgets incorporating a Cost of Living salary adjustment of 1%;

5. Direct staff to budget any tax levy increases resulting from real assessment growth due to new development and building construction assessment as increased taxation revenue to offset new staffing as a result of growth pressures;

6. Approve the 2022 Canada Community-Building Fund grant estimated at $348,600 towards funding road resurfacing projects within the capital plan;

7. Approve the allocation of $335,100 from the additional one-time Canada Community-Building Fund received in 2021 towards the Bayshore Road Asphalt Resurfacing and Drainage Works project; and

8. Approve the allocation of $916,346 from the 2021 and 2022 Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund grant towards BR015- Gilles Bridge.

After the January 5, public engagement session, Council will meet for two full days on January 9 and 10 to discuss budgetary needs in every municipal department, as well as capital projects to be funded next year.

The budget schedule published by the municipality anticipates that the mandatory statutory public meeting will be held at Meaford Hall on Monday, January 31, with a target for final approval of the 2022 budgets at Council’s February 14 meeting.

All budget documents can be found by visiting meaford.ca/budget. All questions about the budget from Council and the public can be sent to budgets@Meaford.ca.

The Questions and Answers for the budget will become a public document and will be posted to the municipal website beginning the week of December 13.

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