Dysart’s third draft of budget has 2.34% levy increase

By James Matthews
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The third draft of Dysart’s municipal budget has ratepayers facing a 2.34 per cent increase to their tax bill this year.

That increase will give residential taxpayers a bill for $316.07 for every $100,000 of their home’s assessed value. That’s a change of $7.22 more than last year’s bill. Basically, it’s about one less meal deal at a fast-food establishment this year.

Commercial ratepayers will pay $10.71 more than last year. That means a bill of $468.64 for every $100,000 assessed. And industrial tax bills will be $543.04 for an increase of $12.41 over the 2022 levy.

The education levy will remain unchanged from last year’s rate. Haliburton County has yet to determine what its tax levy will be.

Barbara Swannell, the township’s treasurer, tabled the latest draft of the municipal operating and capital spending blueprint when council met Feb. 10.

Council will formally accept the proposed budget when it meets Feb. 28.

The first attempt to ink the town’s budget took place Dec. 9 with a first draft that proposed a tax levy increase of 8.9 per cent. The current 2.34 per cent increase is in line with what was proposed in the second draft in January.

Swannell said there’s still quite a bit of work to be done that was planned in 2022. But a minimal deficit is anticipated.

“We have since learned that a surplus under road maintenance, we’re looking at about $283,000,” she said. “It will help to mitigate some of the cost overrun in our landfill.”

The net deficit for the landfill is about $338,000.

“So the surplus under roads is primarily with the snowplowing,” Swannell said, and added that surplus is about $135,000.

Money that was earmarked to correct road washouts wasn’t all used, either. There’s about $140,000 for that left over from last year. And coin put in the 2022 purse for road patching and ditching has a $78,000 surplus.

But the picture isn’t as rosy in the accounting for landfill operations.

Landfill operations has a net deficit for $338,000 and contract services for handling construction and demolition waste went over by about $400,000.

The total levy for 2023 is a little more than $11-million. About 95 per cent of that money is from residential property taxes. The remaining five per cent is from commercial/industrial ratepayers.

The township will draw about $1.8-million from reserves his year, Swannell said.

“That essentially is reflective of the increased capital budget in 2023 of just under $2-million,” she said.

The primary reserve fund increased by $1.6 million last year for a balance of $5.6 million. Just under $1.8 million will be used in 2023 to finish at $3.08 million.

“And that’s, of course, depending whether we put more in the reserves from other areas,” Mayor Murray Fearrey said.

Swannell agreed.

“So it looks bad, but it’s not really that bad,” he said.

Swannell said there’ll be a $568,100 contribution to the reserve fund in 2023.

“We’ve kind of contained that for 2023, recognizing additional costs and so forth, and trying to present a reasonable tax increase in these tough economic times,” she said.

An additional $250,000 was added to the third draft of the budget for bridge work on Koshlong Lake Road. Previous drafts had $100,000 earmarked for engineering work. Swannell said the cash will come from capital roads reserve.

That, according to basic math, brings the bridge project on Koshlong Lake Road to $350,000.

The complete tab for capital projects this year will run just above $2.4 million.

A point of interest is that 36 per cent of tax dollars go toward transportation needs. That’s the greatest single use of tax money in Dysart et al.