County Briefs: Draft county tax increase hovering below four per cent
By Chad Ingram
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Nov. 27 meeting of Haliburton County council.
Treasurer Elaine Taylor presented an updated 2020 draft budget to councillors, which included a number of changes from a first draft budget she’d presented to council earlier this fall. The changes, a series of increases and decreases on various line items, resulted in a net drop of nearly $14,000 from the first draft budget, meaning the anticipated tax rate increase has dropped from 3.93 to 3.89 per cent.
One per cent has been allotted for assessment growth. It is likely the budget will be passed early in the new year. That tax rate increase is for the county portion of residents’ tax bills, which also include a portion for their lower-tier tax rate, as well as the school board. It’s anticipated most of the lower-tier councils will pass their 2020 budgets in February.
Danielsen reappointed warden
Algonquin Highlands Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen, who has served as Haliburton County warden for 2019, was reappointed by colleagues to serve another year at the helm of the county council table. Councillors select from amongst themselves who will serve as warden, the head of council and the county’s primary representative with other levels of government, on an annual basis.
The position is traditionally acclaimed, with Danielsen the only official nomination this time around. A member of county council since 2010, this year was Danielsen’s first time in the role. She thanked her colleagues for their support, and will officially be inaugurated as warden for 2020 during a Dec. 17 meeting. A deputy warden will be chosen at a Dec. 18 meeting, or, if an internal election is required, in January. Haliburton County council is comprised of the mayors and deputy mayors from each of the county’s four lower-tier municipalities.
Permission for puzzle
Residents Brigitte Gall and Michael Bainbridge made a delegation to council, requesting to use the image of a mural painted on the wall of the Minden registry office, a county-owned building on Newcastle Street, for a jigsaw puzzle.
The mural, which depicts a map of Haliburton County augmented by images of fish and other wildlife, advertising the area as a “fisherman’s paradise,” was painted in 1962 by artist Fred Ayers, who was contracted by the county for the work.
“So it is an image owned by the county,” Gall said.
Last year, the couple launched puzzle company TheOccurence, using Bainbridge’s mineral photos as imagery for their first puzzles. Then, they made one featuring a number of road signs from around the county, called Haliburton County Road Trip.
“We totally underestimated how well that would be received,” Gall said, explaining not only have they been making more of that puzzle, but were looking at doing a county-based series and thought the vintage mural would make an ideal image.
Since the image is owned by the county, for each sale of the mural puzzle, they explained a portion of the proceeds would be donated to the Art Council Haliburton Highlands’ artists in the schools program, on behalf of the County of Haliburton.
Councillors were on board, granting the permission.
“Resoundingly, yes,” said Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin.