Meaford's council is one step closer to the approval of the 2018 municipal budget, and thanks in large part to a significant increase in OMPF (Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund) funding for next year, the property tax increase will be lower than expected.
In September council directed staff to prepare a draft budget that included a maximum overall tax levy increase of four percent, including allocations of one percent dedicated to roads capital funding, one percent for capital funding of bridges, and 0.5 percent for capital funding of municipal facilities. Additionally council directed staff to “budget any tax levy increases resulting from real assessment growth due to new development and building construction assessment into the General Infrastructure Reserve Fund for future capital projects.”
Staff had prepared a budget for next year complying with council's wishes, and a rate increase of 3.893 was proposed, however some good fortune allowed staff to arrive at the December 11 meeting with a similar budget package though with a required rate increase of only 1.603 percent.
At their December 11 meeting, Meaford Treasurer Darcy Chapman told council that the municipality will receive $172,000 in additional OMPF funding for 2018, and that unexpected news combined with some smaller savings found within the budget allowed staff to bring the rate increase down to 1.603 percent.
Council welcomed the good news, and asked the treasurer to prepare a final budget document reflecting a 3.0 percent rate increase, with the additional $185,000 that would be realized by bumping the increase from 1.603 percent to 3.0 percent to be dedicated to infrastructure needs.
A statutory public meeting will be held on Monday, January 15 at 6:30 p.m., and final approval of the 2018 budget is expected to be completed at council's January 29 meeting.
All budget documents are available on the municipal website (www.meaford.ca/budgets).