DAN CEARNS The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: After completing budget deliberations on Tuesday, December 5th, the City of Kawartha Lakes has approved a municipal, which includes a tax increase of 2.94 percent and a 1.5 percent infrastructure levy.
After starting the budget process with a 4.56 percent projected tax increase in October, councillors and city staff were able to whittle the tax increase down to 3.58 percent by the end of the capital budget process. Then, on December 5th, councillors looked at the operating budget, special projects budget and the water and wastewater budget, using the time to bring the final tax increase down to 2.94. This is below the council’s earlier desire of a 3 percent tax increase.
According to a City of Kawartha Lakes press release, this tax increase is estimated to equate to an “$108 increase on residential properties in Lindsay and approximately $85 increase on properties outside Lindsay.”
The capital, operating, special projects and water and wastewater budgets come together to form the overall municipal budget.The operating budget totals $252 million, and the capital budget was approved, totalling $70.6 million. The special projects budget totals $2 million.
“This budget actually is catching up, with $22 million in deferred projects we’re addressing this year, too. So that’s another good news story for today,” Ward 8 Councillor and Deputy Mayor Tracy Richardson said.
Mayor Doug Elmslie lauded the job municipal staff and councillors have done with this budget, given the difficult financial impacts the municipality is facing.
“I think we’ve done a great job, staff and council, with this budget. I didn’t think when we started out, we had a shot at getting anywhere near 3 percent. So, where we are right now, going forward, I think we’ve done a real service to the citizens of Kawartha Lakes.”
He added, “We all wish it could be zero or could be lowered,” but he feels “everybody has done an outstanding job here.”
In a statement, Mayor Elmslie wrote this budget is “investing in the economic drivers of Kawartha Lakes.”
The Kawartha Lakes press release stated the operating budget includes “28 new full-time [staff] positions being approved.”
“This year is a catch-up year for staffing that was minimized during the pandemic years,” the press release explained.