DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: Kawartha Lakes councillors were presented with a 2022 budget totalling $295.9 million on Thursday, November 18th. The budget includes $221 million in operating expenditures and $38.7 million in capital expenditures. The special project’s budget is $2.3 million. The Water and Wastewater budgets see $24.1 million on the operating side and $9.7 million on the capital side.
Some of the expenses on the capital side include $20.2 million for roads and related infrastructure work, $5.6 million for transit and fleet and $4.4 million for recreation and library facilities.
“As much as it’s a large capital budget, it’s not large in the context of the amount of assets we are trying to maintain,” Corporate Services director Jennifer Stover explained.
She also highlighted some of the projects in the capital budget.
“There’s the rehabilitation of 173 kilometres of roads, we’re looking to design a new paramedic headquarters and fleet centre, there’s the replacement of the Lindsay Recreation Complex ice pads, and then a myriad of other projects [which] are really about the ongoing repair and maintenance of the City’s assets.”
The City also has a number of deferred projects.
“There’s a list of almost $17 million worth of projects we just can’t get to this year. Those are an accumulation of projects we had to reprioritize for this year, and when we do our long-range financial plan, we’re really looking to close the gap and not have that list continue to grow,” Ms. Stover said.
The biggest expense in the operating budget is $74.9 million for salaries, wages and benefits.
City staff are proposing a tax increase of 3 percent for this year. However, Ms. Stover explained different residents see different tax bills in the municipality.
“Residents in this community have area-rated taxes, so it really depends where you live. Which area rates you pay will determine what your tax bill will be,” she said, adding housing value assessment also impacts the tax bill.