County council passes 2021 budget

By Chad Ingram

Haliburton County councillors passed the 2021 budget during a Feb. 10 meeting, the final budget containing a tax increase of 3.84 per cent.

Councillors had first reviewed the budget during a Jan. 11 meeting. Since then, it was learned the county’s insurance costs would be higher than had been budgeted for the year, however, that was offset by increased property assessment values, received from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. The 2021 budget includes the addition of an economic development officer on county staff, although that position will be funded through Safe Restart funding from the provincial government.

“It happened in a timely fashion and certainly a comfortable number in a COVID year to move forward,” said Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin. “So, I do not have any reservations.”

“I think it’s a good, modest increase,” said Algonquin Highlands Deputy Mayor and County Warden Liz Danielsen. “It’s my fear that next year and the years following we’re going to see some pretty severe impacts from upper levels of government, and we will not be able to continue at this rate, sadly.”