Councillors in Dryden are hoping to keep their costs under control in the coming years as they face an upcoming property tax levy increase.
Mayor Jack Harrison and fellow Council members met at City Hall earlier this month to look over the city’s proposed 2023 Operating and Capital Budgets.
After Council requested some revisions in November and December, City Treasurer Steven Lansdell- Roll explains the proposed budget’s 2.65 per cent property tax increase will cover a $390,000 shortfall.
This comes after the community experienced a 4.15 per cent increase through the 2022 budget process, as well as a 10 per cent water and sewer rate hike.
Councillor Catherine Kiewning shared her concerns about repeated tax increases for the Dryden community – specifically when it comes to residents trying to survive on fixed-incomes. Unfortunately, Lansdell-Roll says future increases are likely.
“It’s reasonable to expect that there’s going to be future levy increases required each and every year, because our costs are going to go up each and every year,” says Lansdell-Roll.
As it stands, Dryden’s proposed 2023 Budget includes a 15 per cent increase in municipal insurance premiums, a $250,000 increase in municipal labour costs and about $1 million of Capital work funded by taxation.
“When you look at our labour increase at 2.75 per cent, insurance premiums at just over 15 per cent, natural gas around 25 per cent and other inflationary items – we’re going to see these each year but we’re going to do our best to minimize the impact to our property owners,” he adds.
Elsewhere, Lansdell-Roll’s report also lists about $950,000 going into city reserves – including $238,000 from MAT taxes to the city’s Waterfront Development Reserve Fund and $506,000 to the Waterworks Reserve Fund.
However, the city will be pulling $933,000 from other reserves for OPP costs and Aaron Park upgrades.
Dryden’s proposed budget also includes $1.05 million in debt servicing costs with over $15 million of expected capital work, after the city lobbied over $11 million of funding from provincial and federal programs.
Council is set to vote on the proposed budget during their January 23 Council meeting at City Hall. Dryden is hoping to pass the budget this month.
Other items on Monday’s agenda include a minor site plan amendment at 285 Arthur Street, an amended development agreement for 5 Skillen Crescent and approving the city’s funding partnerships with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.