Central Huron Council approves final budget for 2021
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Central Huron Council has passed its budget for 2021, which includes a three per cent increase to the municipal tax levy. With the Huron County and education tax levies included, the budget results in an increase of under two per cent to the overall levy for Central Huron ratepayers.
The budget equates to $1,259.68 to be paid in taxes for municipal, county and education purposes per $100,000 of residential assessment. That is up slightly from last year’s figure of $1,237.32, but lower than in all four previous budgets, stretching back to 2016.
For a Central Huron house assessed at $200,000, the 2021 taxes will be $2,519.36.
Treasurer Jeff Boyes presented the final draft of the budget to council at its April 19 meeting, which was held virtually via Zoom on Monday night.
This year’s budget includes over $7.7 million in taxation requirements for municipal purposes. The levy increase of just over $330,000 represents a 4.46 per cent increase to the levy in 2021. This comes after a year without a levy increase in 2020, a 6.5 per cent increase in 2019 and a 9.77 per cent increase in 2018.
The municipal portion of the budget, Boyes explained to councillors, accounts for just over 51 per cent of the taxes collected, with 35.56 per cent going to Huron County and just over 12 per cent allocated to the school boards.
The bulk of the municipality’s revenue, just under 85 per cent, comes from taxation and grants. Over 62 per cent of Central Huron’s revenue comes from taxation, while 22.3 per cent comes from federal and provincial grants.
The remaining 15 per cent is divided between other grants, fees and charges, licences, permits and rentals, interest and investment income, solar panel revenue and casino revenue.
As for the expense budget breakdown, 36 per cent will be spent on roads, fleet and street lights, while 19 per cent is for protective and inspection costs, 15 per cent is allocated for recreation and facilities, 12 per cent is for water and sewer, nine per cent is for general government, five per cent is for planning, economic development and agriculture and four per cent is set aside for the environment.
In this year’s budget, the municipality will be transferring just over $1.5 million to reserves, but withdrawing over $2.5 million from its reserves at the same time. The budget also contains a two per cent increase to the wastewater operating budget.
Big ticket capital items in the budget include just under $2 million for urban reconstruction of the main street through Clinton, over $1.2 million in top coat paving for eight roads, basecoat asphalt for Tipperary Line for over $230,000 and the purchase of the former Bluewater Youth Centre, which has yet to be finalized, for just over $5 million.
As a result, the municipality will be taking on nearly $6 million in new debt this year, $5 million for the Bluewater Youth Centre purchase and $815,000 for the construction of a new utilities work centre. That is in addition to over $380,000 in current debt principal payments for the Central Huron Community Complex ($103,943), the Regional Equine and Agricultural Centre of Huron ($128,917), Clinton LED street lights ($64,455), the Josling pit ($23,306) and other assorted roadwork $61,476).
Council passed the budget with no discussion, having honed it over five previous budget meetings.