The City of Kenora’s last municipal budget was approved on Tuesday (May 18, 2022), by city councillors.

Kenora’s 2022 operating budget was highlighted by a 2.17 per cent increase in residential property taxes for this year.

Charlotte Edie, Director of Finance for the City of Kenora, said back on May 10, 2022, though residential taxes rates will decrease, others such as industrial and commercial rates will increase above the previously projected 2.92 per cent rate.

The city also had to increase its contributions to external organizations by roughly 1.2 per cent, which the city has no control over. External organizations include the OPP, the Northwestern Health Unit, the Kenora District Services Board, and the Kenora District Home for the Aged.

A report from April 24, 2022, says they’ll pay over $12.3 million to the OPP, Northwestern Health Unit, Kenora District Services Board, and Pinecrest in 2022 – an increase of about $330,000 or 2.8 per cent compared to 2021’s rates. Net municipal program costs are also up about $1 million compared to 2021.

Staff did want to point out that when you subtract the 2.1 per cent tax rate increase, and their 1.2 per cent external agency contributions, the real increase is just below one per cent for residential homeowners.

The 2022 Municipality Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) assessment resulted in an increase in the residential tax base of 0.8 per cent. The entire balance of this increase is related to growth such as new construction.

Typically there would be an increase in residential assessment from the phased-in assessment values of properties in Kenora. In 2022, there would have been a new reassessment to homes phased in over 4 years, however, this was postponed and 2022 assessments will remain the same as 2020 unless there were changes to the property and will also remain frozen for 2023.

The City of Kenora also met many challenges when drawing up its operating budget. The challenges included no re-assessment increases for properties in 2022, increases to the Kenora OPP contract for 2022, a decrease of $400,000 over the last five years to the city’s Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, wage increases for staff, and the increase of general costs such as fuel, insurance rates, materials and supply costs.

Other highlights from his report on the draft budget include $34.5 million in gross operating expenses, $12 million in capital expenses, a $3.7 million investment into city reserves, $2.3 million in non-capital special projects, and about a $900,000 gain from investment returns.

With the approval of the operating budget on Tuesday, all municipal budgets have been approved for the year, as the city’s 2022 capital budget was approved on December 21, 2021.

This story was originally posted on Thursday, May 2019, 2022 by Jay D Haughton.