North Grenville budget calls for 1.9% tax increase

North Grenville officials have begun the municipality’s 2022 budget process.

“The way we’re doing the budget, it’s fiscally responsible, it’s responsible in the sense that it represents the fiscal needs of our municipality,” Chief Executive Gary Dyke said. “This is the start of a new, revised financial management plan for the organization and the community.”

According to the online presentation of the 2022 draft budget, the plan has two main concepts in mind: modernization, or investing to find new efficiencies, and service, or meeting the needs of the community through various service options. .

“He also talks about how we’ve adapted to the unique challenges we’ve faced over the past two years throughout the pandemic, which have had a significant impact on our revenue streams,” Dyke said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the arena to close for more than a year, along with other facility closures, and the pandemic has caused the municipality to “look very closely” at the affordability of the community.

Femi Ogunrinde, Acting Director of Finance/Treasurer, said the budget is affected by a few different things, including level of service, inflation and historical trends, COVID-19, public engagement, modernization and long-term financial planning.

Ogunrinde said that for the 2022 community investments, a total of $781,409 has been budgeted, which includes a recommendation of $105,650 for the 19 community grant applicants.

The plan proposes a 1.9% tax increase, and there will be no increase this year for education rates according to the acting chief financial officer.

Some projects from previous years that were non-capital, such as studies and reports, have been transferred to the operating budget for 2022 for better reporting and monitoring, but do not require new funding, Ogunrinde said.

“There will be a drop in reserves, to the tune of $1.3 million,” he added.

The municipality expects a 14.6% spending increase in the proposed operating budget, which will draw from the reserve fund on the revenue side of $1.3 million, according to Ogunrinde.

For the 2022 capital budget, more than $6.6 million has been proposed, including $3,289,765 planned for roads, $1,500,000 for parks rehabilitation, $750,000 for vehicle fleet and l equipment and the remaining proposed amount going to other projects.

Dyke said the Riverside Park project is a multi-year project and while the full value is included in this year’s budget, they are not expected to spend $1.5 million in 2022 and there will have carry-over costs.

“This is an exciting budget for us,” said Mayor Nancy Peckford. “Community strategic planning was very strong and allowed staff and council to crystallize some of these priorities, while also focusing on affordability in a high-growth community where there is a lot of demand.

Public consultations for the 2022 budget have already begun. The first public consultation took place on Monday evening and the next public consultation is February 16 at 6:30 p.m.

“The Board is always available and will be very responsive to the feedback we receive,” Peckford added.

The draft budget will be presented at the February 22 council meeting at 6:30 p.m., with the presentation of the final budget in early March.

(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works for the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

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