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Kawartha Lakes approves their remaining 2023 budgets

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: City of Kawartha Lakes council approved their remaining budgets, at a meeting on Tuesday, February 28th.

The approved budgets include: the operating budget, water and wastewater budget and special projects budget. These three budgets combine with the recently approved capital budget to form the overall 2023 municipal budget.

This year, residents will see a three percent tax levy increase and a 1.5 percent infrastructure levy, totalling a 4.5 percent increase overall.

“This represents an estimated $32 tax increase per $100,000 of assessed value on residential properties,” a Kawartha Lakes press release explained.

One of the items councillors discussed, during budget talks, was a contribution to support the Ross Memorial Hospital’s capital project needs. The local hospital had previously made a request to councillors for $4 million in funding.

Ward 5 Councillor, Eric Smeaton motioned to allocate $1 million from the 2022 budget surplus towards the Ross Memorial Hospital.

“This allocation shows our unwavering support for a facility [which] is absolutely outstanding,” Councillor Smeaton stated.

Ward 8 Councillor, Tracy Richardson spoke in favour of the motion.

“It’s allowing [the Ross Memorial Hospital] to do more, quicker, for our residents when it’s called upon. I just think, representing our residents and providing more to our hospital is a benefit to everyone.”

Ward 2 Councillor, Pat Warren explained, “this is going towards an MRI machine and other things not covered by the province.”

Following a recorded vote, the motion was approved unanimously.

“It’s very nice that it’s unanimous. I’m pleased about that, and I’m sure the Ross [Memorial Hospital] will be pleased as well,” Mayor Doug Elmslie said.

Kawartha Lakes council also agreed to create a couple of new funding avenues to support the community.

“Council committed to establishing a grant fund, to support local arts and cultural organizations for their operating requirements. In addition to that fund, a one-time $200,000 fund will be established to support community groups and will be modelled after successful pandemic recovery funding programs implemented in past years. The options and recommendations for both funding programs will be provided later this year,” read the Kawartha Lakes press release.

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