Highlands East heading for 3.56 per cent tax increase
By Sue Tiffin
Published March 12, 2019
Highlands East council is looking to approve the 2019 draft budget, which includes a 3.56 per cent tax hike, an increase of about $16 per $100,000 of residential property assessment, raising $5,964,450 in taxation.
“This is an increase from previous years, however, we have a large capital budget this year,” Shannon Hunter, Highlands East CAO and treasurer, told the Echo. “Council is following through with their objectives identified at the beginning of the term.”
Budget presentations were made by each department – building, fire, parks, recreation and facilities, roads and
environment – and discussed at a special meeting of council held March 5.
Capital projects include the rehabilitation of Dyno Road at a cost of $615,000, and the second phase of roadwork at the Cardiff town site at a cost of $544,207. Other major projects include a facilities review budgeted at $50,000 and an organizational review which will cost $28,000. In total, capital projects will cost $1.9 million, compared to $1.4 million in 2018.
Hunter identified the biggest increase is in the roads department. Besides Dyno Road and phase two of the Cardiff town site, work includes completing phase one of the Cardiff town site, the completion of Contau Lake Road, and guide rail projects on Ojibway and Sucie Roads, Deer Lake Road, and Tall Pine Road.
Cardiff pool requires some repairs costing $50,000, and $100,000 will help fund phase two of the Herlihey Park project. A new website will cost $90,000, and accounting software expenses total $100,000. The fire department is looking for an international tanker costing $355,745, a new furnace and paving at the Monck Road fire hall at a cost of $20,700 and 15 sets of bunker gear costing $18,400 and imaging cameras totalling $7,500. Reserves will be drawn on for some of the projects.
Additionally, the municipality will hire a septic inspector, a full-time bylaw enforcement officer and will increase hours for a part-time economic development coordinator.
“Each department has a large project, however, outside of roads, I would say a new website, organizational review, new accounting software and a facilities review is very ambitious,” said Hunter.
“After doing a line by line review, council was satisfied with what was presented,” she said of the 2019 draft budget review at the March 5 special meeting.
The draft budget comes to the March 12 council meeting for approval.
Mayor Dave Burton applauded the work of township staff in their efforts on working on the draft budget.