By Tristan Marks
The Town of Lincoln unveiled its draft 2021 operating budget, which comes in with a 0.9 per cent rate increase.
This budget, when added to the 0 per cent capital budget and the 1 per cent special infrastructure levy gives a total budget levy of 1.9 per cent rate for the municipality.
The blended rate, combined with the Regional levy and the education fund comes to 1.75 per cent.
This would come to a tax increase of $0.24 per day or $88.33 for the year for an average assessed home value of $399,000.
Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton said she was happy how staff worked hard to produce a budget that fulfilled Council’s edict of keeping the Town’s tax rate under 2 per cent in 2021.
“It’s a strong budget, the sort of flexible budget municipalities want in this kind of year,” Mayor Easton said.
Di Ianni explained in comments after the meeting that staff had to find that happy medium of keeping the budget within the Council’s limits, while avoiding ‘cutting’ anything from the Town’s services.
“Our focus was on how to deliver on what our residents expect, while maintaining a low tax,” he said.
Part of this process was finding alternative sources of income apart from taxation.
Some of the budget will be made up from long term borrowing over the next four years moving forward to 2025, although this year the borrowing will be lower than even 2020.
Still, the projected rate of borrowing is not expected to pass the Town’s self-imposed limit of 10 per cent of the total budget.
Other costs will be drawn from the Town’s existing reserve funds, which Di Ianni said were put aside for “a rainy day”.
“And in the pandemic year, we’re in a rainy day,” Di Ianni said.
The budget will go to the Committee of the Whole on Feb. 3 for one more consideration.
Town Council will officially ratify the operating budget- and thus the entire 2021 budget- at their Feb. 8 meeting.