HE budget takes smaller blow from policing costs
By Angelica Ingram
The following are brief reports of items discussed at a March 14 meeting of Highlands East council.
If you live or cottage in Highlands East your tax increase for 2016 will likely be less than $20 per $100,000 assessment.
Municipal treasurer Shannon Hunter presented a look at the 2016 draft budget, which includes a breakdown of expenses and revenues for Highlands East.
Eleven per cent of the 2016 budget consists of policing costs, which went up $238,494 from last year’s cost of $847,300, for a total cost $1,085,794.
Transportation costs make up the largest portion of the budget, coming in at $3.1 million, compared to the 2015 transportation budget of $2.47 million.
The tax rate will go up by 3.91 per cent, said Hunter, which will amount to an increase of $16.50 per $100,000 assessment.
In 2015, taxes per $100,000 assessment were $423.70, going up to $440.20 in 2016. For a $300,000 assessment it will increase by $49.50, for example.
Fifty-four per cent of the municipality’s budget comes from tax dollars, the rest coming from sources such as the county, provincial government and grants.
In the preliminary budget, Hunter has included capital projects which include work on many roads such as Schofield, Ursa, South Paudash and Hadlington.
The budget projects revenues to come in at about $10 million, half of which will be collected through property taxation.
The budget was approved by council.
Food assessment in the works
Highlands East homesteader Andrew von Zuben gave councillors an overview of the Haliburton County Food Assessment, an initiative that is currently in the works between various local organizations.
Focused on gathering information on food issues, the project is in partnership with Abbey Gardens, the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market, the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Harvest Haliburton, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and more.
“We do know the demand for locally produced food is growing rapidly,” said von Zuben, adding it far exceeds current production levels.
The purpose of the project is to conduct a food assessment that will inform long-term planning and action towards a sustainable food system that benefits everyone in the Haliburton region, von Zuben stated in a report to council.
The assessment is being led by a steering committee, that will focus on achieving goals such as identifying community assets, weaknesses and opportunities for action, improving the understanding of food’s importance to the physical, social, environmental and economic health of the community, providing up-to-date and relevant research for use in funding applications, advocacy and policy development.
The project is being financially supported by the Haliburton County Development Corporation and the provincial government.
Von Zuben said one of the hopes is to have food included in the county’s official plan and municipal bylaws.
The group, which meets monthly, is going to continue on with research and is looking for partnerships and a municipal representative to join the committee.