Saturday, March 2, 2024

Statutory Public Meeting For 2024 Municipal Budgets Scheduled For February 12

Meaford’s council is inching closer toward approving the 2024 municipal budgets, with the next step being a statutory public budget meeting on February 12, which offers ratepayers an opportunity to weigh in on the revised draft budgets prior to council’s anticipated March 11 final approval.

After the presentation of the draft budgets on January 15, council had two full-day sessions on January 26 and 30, to discuss and debate the elements of the operating and capital budgets as they sought to refine the budgets while also reducing the rate increase required to support the draft budgets.

As presented on January 15, prior to the inclusion of any enhancements, the draft budgets for 2024 required a 5.57 percent levy increase and a projected tax rate increase of 3.47 percent on the municipal portion of property tax bills for Meaford ratepayers this year. After council’s two days of budget meetings, council was able to provisionally approve a list of budget enhancements, including benefits for firefighters, funding for public opinion polling, security software, as well as some additions to staff, including an Asset Management Coordinator, two seasonal Cultural Services positions, as well as a Project Manager for the future expansion of the wastewater treatment plant.

After making adjustments to both the operating and capital budgets, council approved a budget package to present to ratepayers that would see a rate increase in 2024 of less than 3.0 percent, one of the lowest municipal budget increases in Grey County this year.

β€œI’ve watched all of the other municipalities’ budget processes, and they range from 10 percent to 30 percent (draft budgets), and each one of them over the past four years have cut things that have hurt them the next year,” Councillor Steve Bartley noted when the draft budgets were presented to council on January 15. β€œAnd none of them have put money aside for future infrastructure, and that’s the difference between Meaford and the other eight municipalities. It’s the 2.5 (annual infrastructure funding) that we’ve done, puts us 15 points ahead of them right off the bat. I want to thank staff for bringing a very lean budget forward.”

In December, Grey County approved their 2024 budgets which will see a 6.3 percent rate increase this year for Grey County ratepayers.

There is still time for you to weigh in and share your thoughts with council:

1. Submit your budget questions: The municipality will post budget questions and answers to their website weekly. You can ask your questions by emailing budgets@meaford.ca, calling 519-538-1060 ext. 1746, or by dropping by the Administration Office, located at 21 Trowbridge Street West, during regular hours of operation.

2. Participate in the public budget meetings: meetings are held at 157859 7th Line, Meaford, and are open to the public. You can attend in person or watch on the YouTube channel at www.meaford.ca/YouTube. To register to speak in person or virtually at a meeting, email deputyclerk@meaford.ca or call 519-538-1060 ext. 1100.

  • Monday, February 12, 6:30 p.m. – Statutory Public Meeting (Special Meeting of Council)
  • Monday, March 11, (anticipated in Council at 1 p.m.) – Final Approval of the 2024 Budgets

3. Provide your feedback to Council: Email all members of Council directly using council@meaford.ca.

For all budget related information, visit www.meaford.ca/Budgets. Paper copies of the budget are available upon request.

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