Unexpected capital projects, bad investments impact 2019 tax levy
By Mike Williscraft
A budget process which has included dealing with additional biodigester investments and a $1 million Peach King Centre floor repair, Grimsby Council has arrived at a projected 8.97 per cent tax increase.
The increase on the Town portion of the tax bill will translate into $74.44 on an average assessed home of $380,000.
Among the key expenditures:
• $1 million will be directed from the Federal Gas Grant to pay for the replacement of one ice rink surface at the Peach King Centre;
• $100,000 approved for the museum, library and art gallery for overdue repairs;
• $1,894,000 approved for equipment and maintenance for parks and recreational programs
• $6,027,000 to public works for overdue improvements to various roads, bridges and Lake Ontario shoreline protection;
• $118,000 approved for new technology upgrades and outdated IT systems and software, and;
• $912,000 approved for additional upgrades and repairs to fire department buildings and equipment.
“This budget was very difficult to produce but it is fiscally responsible. I promise that this council will incorporate progressive changes and best practices in The Town of Grimsby’s budgeting process going forward,” said Mayor Jeff Jordan.
“Over past years, there was minimal monies put into the Town’s reserve funds while also incurring superfluous costs such as the biodigester, the inefficient co-generator and investments into projects which lost money. Most of those costs haven’t been included in this tax levy as we continue to find the least-cost-solution to exit those projects.”
Coun. Reg Freake, who chairs the Finance and Administration Committee, said a series of deferrals from previous years have come home to roost in this year’s budget.
The budget, approved last week at committee of the whole, is slated to be approved in regular session next Monday.