UXBRIDGE: Homeowners in Uxbridge could be looking at a township tax increase of about four per cent in 2017.
The Township held its final budget session of 2016 on Tuesday, Dec. 13th, at the Uxbridge Music Hall. The current budget, as it stands, includes $7.1 million in capital expenditures and $15.3 million in operating costs.
The four per cent increase would mean a $50 increase to municipal taxes for the average property owner in Uxbridge with a value assessment on their home of $450,000.
At the Dec. 13th session, the future of the Foster Memorial was brought into question. According to the budget, the facility is going to cost the Township about $50,000 in 2017, and is projected to provide revenue of only $2,700. As well, the Foster only generated $910 in revenue for the Township in 2016.
Recreation, Culture and Tourism manager Amanda Ferraro explained to councillors that the Foster Memorial brought in less revenue this year partially because there were less weddings held at the site during that period.
“We’ve got this asset that has more of a liability on it than anything, as far as budget is concerned. I think this is a big discussion for us somewhere down the road,” Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor said.
Mayor O’Connor also explained the Township is in a tough situation with the building, as they have not received any grants from the Federal or Provincial governments to maintain the building, and nobody is willing to purchase the building from the Township.
Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet questioned what the Township plans to do with the building long term, with the revenues being as low as they are.
Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger said there “surely must be a way to get some revenue” from the building.
Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy said he didn’t have an answer to Councillor Highet’s question.
“The reality is, we don’t have an answer. None of us want the building to fall down, there’s nobody interested in buying it, and so far we have no government provincially or federally interested in taking it over, so I don’t know what we are going to do with it,” he said.
After three sessions, in which they had gone through each Township department’s budget looking for savings, Councillors had a budget that included a tax increase of 3.6 per cent. However, they finished the last session of 2016 by going through the 'items for consideration list', also referred to by councillors as the “wish list”, and added extra expenditures to the budget, which brought the tax percentage increase to about four per cent.
Some of the costs added include: $5,000 to remove tennis courts near the Countryside Preserve; $21,000 for two flashing construction sign boards; and an extra $7,200 for the Township’s Canada Day festivities.
Councillors will have one more opportunity to tweak the 2017 operating and capital budget on Thursday, Jan. 12th, before it goes to Council for approval.