Morris-Turnberry approves 2021 budget
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Morris-Turnberry Council approved its 2021 budget and tax rates during its April 20 meeting, bringing the four-month budget process to an end and setting a total tax rate increase of 1.35 per cent.
The budget process was a difficult one, according to Treasurer Sean Brophy, starting with a $66,100 decrease in money from the Ontario Municipal Partnership Funding (OMPF), which marks a $453,200 reduction in the funding over the past five years, and going forward through the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts it will have on the budget.
Despite that, the municipality will set aside reserve funds this year, including extra funds to help with negotiations with North Huron, if necessary, Brophy said. In total, the municipality’s reserves will be $218,036.19 higher than they were before the budget process started, with funds being set aside for numerous projects, including recreation and grants, road work, policing, development and streetlights, while taking money from reserves for fire protection projects and the Belgrave water system.
The municipality’s levy will increase by 3.1 per cent under the proposed budget, Brophy said, and includes several significant capital projects, such as replacing the McCrea well in Belgrave, paving several roads and the lot at the Morris public works yard, the construction of the Smuck Bridge on Abraham Line and Morris-Turnberry’s share of the purchase of a pumper truck by the Fire Department of North Huron.
The residential portion of the municipal tax rate will increase 1.959 per cent under the new budget. The county portion will increase by 0.774 per cent and the education rate will remain the same, for a total tax rate increase of 1.35 per cent, Brophy said. He explained that, on an average single-family home in Morris-Turnberry, which has a value of $226,031, taxes will go up $42.14 from $3,122.07 to $3,164.21.
Council received Brophy’s report and voted to adopt the tax rate by bylaw, including the tax rates. Council also passed a motion to have staff return the final tax levy bylaw for 2021 to its next meeting for consideration.