Central Huron Council approves 2023 budget
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Central Huron Council has approved its 2023 budget, which includes a 9.6 per cent increase to the levy, resulting in a 7.44 per cent tax rate increase over the municipality’s 2022 budget.
The approval came despite the protestations of Deputy-Mayor Marg Anderson, who voted against the approval of the budget, saying she felt there was still some fat that could be trimmed from the budget.
This year’s levy requirement for the budget is $8,851,861, which is an increase of 9.6 per cent over the 2022 levy requirement of $8,076,722. This represents the highest increase in levy requirements for Central Huron since 2018, when the levy increased by 9.77 per cent.
For municipal purposes, the residential tax rate will be rising 7.44 per cent, which represents a municipal levy of $718.50 per $100,000 of assessment - an increase of $49.76. On $100,000 of assessment, Central Huron residents will pay $500.91 to the county and $153 to the school boards, meaning that total taxes per $100,000 of assessment will be $1,372.41, which represents a total increase of 6.21 per cent.
The Central Huron portion of the taxes make up 52.35 per cent of the levy, followed by the county at 36.5 per cent and 11.15 per cent for the school boards.
Treasurer Jeff Boyes presented the final draft of the budget to council at its April 24 meeting, which was held in the council chambers at the municipal office in Clinton. The budget was unchanged from the proposed final draft of the budget that Boyes presented late last month at council’s final budget meeting of the year.
In his presentation, Boyes said that the municipality’s average residential property, which is assessed at $211,000 (though he noted that the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation has not reassessed properties in Ontario since 2016, so that number is likely quite low and not reflective of current values), will pay approximately $2,895.79 in taxes in 2023, compared to $2,726.35 last year. Central Huron will receive $1,516.04 of that, while the county will receive $1,056.92 and the school boards will receive $322.83.
Boyes broke out the municipal portion of that amount, showing just how much money goes towards each municipal department. Approximately 51 per cent, or $773, goes to the municipality’s roads and fleet, while 24 per cent ($364) goes to protective inspection, which includes fire protection, policing, the conservation authorities and more. Eleven per cent, or $152, goes towards administration and council, followed by eight per cent for recreation and facilities ($121), three per cent for cemeteries ($45), three per cent for planning, economic development and agriculture ($45) and one per cent goes towards landfill and recycling costs ($15).
Boyes also noted the sharp increase in the municipality’s tax rate in recent years, which he attributes to the lack of reassessment mentioned earlier.
“Central Huron’s levy per $100,000 of residential assessment of $718.50 has increased from a recent low of $627.30 in 2020. This steep increase is primarily due to MPAC not having reassessed property values since 2016, with the last phase-in of that assessment being in 2020. Accordingly, any levy increase requires an increase in the tax rate,” Boyes said in his report to council, comparing the 2023 rate of $718.50 per $100,000 of residential assessment to the 2020 rate of $627.30.
There was little discussion on the budget, with the exception of Anderson’s concerns that more could have been cut. As a result, she told council she would be voting against the motion to approve the budget and any subsequent bylaws to that effect. Furthermore, she called for a recorded vote on the motion to approve the budget.
Anderson and Councillor Everett Smith voted against the budget, while Mayor Jim Ginn and Councillors Jennifer Cox, Alison Lobb, Michael Russo and Dan Colquhoun voted in favour, passing the budget for 2023. Councillor Adam Robinson was absent for the meeting.
Later in the meeting, council passed a bylaw to adopt the budget for the year and to levy and collect taxes for the municipality.