HE tables budget with 2.02% increase to taxpayers

By James Matthews
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Highlands East managed to shave a smidgen off the tax increase for 2023.
Town council voted during its regular meeting on Mar. 14 to accept the latest draft of the 2023 municipal capital and operating budget.
Taxpayers will get a bill that has a municipal tax rate of 2.02 per cent more than last year’s levy rate. The overall increase from last year’s spending plan is $182,332 this year.
Residents will have to pay $16.83 more than last year for every $100,000 assessed value on their property.
Last year, the levy for a property assessed at $100,000 was $897.42. This year, the rate for the same property is $914.25.
The user fees for water and wastewater have gone up four per cent for each service.
Brittany McCaw, the township’s deputy CAO/treasurer, said the initial tax rate, the one proposed in the first draft of the budget in January, was 2.05 per cent above last year.
“Some minor changes and adjustments have been made throughout the months of February to the budget document such as including the additional monies for the Cardiff Pool Change House project,” McCaw said.
“This did not have any impact on the bottom line of the tax rate.”
The former Gas Tax Funding now called The Canada Community-Building Fund allocation for 2023 is $110,633.
Council is using unused funds that had been put into reserves for projects that weren’t done. Money brought forward in 2023 towards capital projects include $25,000 for architect fees for the Municipal Office design build, $25,000 from digitizing files to the Records Management SDR project, $10,000 for Integrity Commissioner, and $25,000 from the Working Fund Reserve to complete the Corporate Strategic Plan.
Funding for the fire department’s capital projects include coin towards the Fire Master Plan, five sets of new bunker gear, and various fire hall upgrades at all halls throughout the municipality.
Policing costs will drop by 3.27 per cent from last year for a price tag of about $1.5 million in 2023.
The township’s contribution to the conservation authority jumped by 2.97 per cent for $64,255 this year.
Roads revenue increased to $95,000 this year, more than the $64,500 in 2022 because of the increase in fees and charges and municipal services to other municipalities.
Money brought forward from reserve for Public Works use this year include $50,000 for the Glamorgan equipment shelter that is to be reallocated towards the grader, $362,500 for the grader, $160,000 for a new tractor, $40,000 for Inlet Bay Road work, $40,000 for Gem Road work, $50,000 for Upper Paudash Road work, $250,000 for Earles Road culvert, $90,000 for garage roof repairs, and $20,000 for guiderails.