Township homeowners will see a 2.47 per cent property tax increase in 2018.
On Feb. 5, council granted first, second and third reading to the 2018-2022 five-year financial plan in an 8-1 vote.
The increase is composed of a 1.95 per cent base rate to account for inflation, and another 0.52 per cent in additional items. These include hiring four new RCMP members, extending recreation centre hours, operating the Gateway of Hope homeless shelter and adding airport maintenance, fueling and office support.
Homeowners can expect to pay an additional $48 per year or $4 per month, compared to the annual increase of $71 last year.
Coun. Kim Richter, who cast the only opposition vote, first asked council to defer the budget until the next meeting to consider a request from the Willoughby Residents Association for several sidewalk upgrades. That failed 8-1.
Richter then made an amendment to reduce the tax increase to 1.95 per cent. There was no seconder.
“I do believe the 1.95 is reasonable,” Richter said. “But given the very large property assessment values that homeowners, especially in the rural and suburban residential areas, have been hit with this year, I don’t think 2.47 is a fair increase.”
Mayor Jack Froese said the 1.95 is what’s needed to “keep the lights on.”
“We need to put money aside, as we are in our contingency funds, to save for the future so we don’t have to have five, six and 10 per cent tax increases that I see in some of our neighbouring municipalities,” he said.
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G.1 Rpt 18-15 Five Year Plan and DCC Bylaws by Miranda Gathercole on Scribd