County council passes budget with 3% tax increase
By Chad Ingram
Published March 6, 2018
The following are brief reports of items from a Feb. 28 Haliburton County council meeting.
Councillors passed the 2018 county budget, which includes a tax rate increase of 2.91 per cent at the upper tier level.
The budget contains more than $22 million in total spending, some $16.5 million of which will be levied through property taxes. Of that, approximately $6.3 million will come from Dysart et al; approximately $4.4 million from Minden Hills; about $3.3 million from Algonquin Highlands; and some $2.4 million from Highlands East.
Forty-six per cent of the budget will be spent on transportation services, which includes the roads department. Twenty per cent will be spent on health services; 13 per cent on general government; nine per cent on social and family service and social housing; six per cent on culture and recreation; five per cent on the planning department; and one per cent for protective services.
Salaries and benefits constitute 41 per cent of the total budget, and county staff are scheduled for a 1.75 per cent wage increase in 2018, two per cent for paramedics as per a collective agreement.
Councillors approved remuneration rates for council for 2018. The warden will be paid just more than $17,000; the deputy warden just more than $9,000; and remaining councillors just more than $8,000.
County council consists of the mayors and deputy mayors of each of the county’s four lower-tier municipalities, who are also compensated at the lower-tier level. On top of regularly scheduled council meetings, councillors will be paid $75 per committee or ad hoc meeting lasting less than two hours, and $125 per committee or ad hoc meeting longer than two hours in duration.
The bylaw read that in subsequent years, council remuneration would increase at the same rate as the county’s non-union and management staff. Councillors use their own vehicles for county business and receive mileage payments on a per-kilometre basis. They can also expense incidentals such as meals and accommodations while travelling on county business.