By Mike Anderson
The Town of Georgina presented its draft budget to council on November 8, which calls for a 5.5 per cent tax hike in 2024.
The 5.5 per cent hike includes a 3.5 per cent increase for operational expenditures and a 2 per cent infrastructure levy.
According to the staff report, the 3.5 per cent increase will ensure service levels will be maintained as the Town faces inflationary pressures, municipal contract escalations and contractual salary pressures.
The Town says the 2 per cent infrastructure levy for capital reserves is necessary to ensure the Town can continue to invest in capital infrastructure. The 2024 capital budget is approx. $23 million, which includes $3 million towards the replacement of the civic centre.
The updated gross ten-year capital forecast is now approx. $320 million.
The 3.5 per cent increase, totalling $42 Million, will support salaries and benefits at the Town of Georgina, including the Georgina Public Library, which represents 55.7 per cent of the Town’s operating budget.
The proposed budget will also add five permanent full-time positions.
According to the Town, the tax hike translates into an average annual increase of approximately $89 (operating levy), $51 (infrastructure levy), totalling $140 for a house with an assessed value of $448,000, an average single-family detached dwelling.
If the budget is approved, residents could also see combined water and wastewater rates increase by 8.9 per cent.
The water consumption (variable) rate is proposed to increase by 8.66 per cent, while the wastewater rate is to increase by 8.06 per cent.
Fixed charges will increase by 12.70 per cent, and 17.75 per cent respectively.
The staff report cites significant increases in the cost of capital infrastructure (water and wastewater) over the past three years for the increases, as well as the need to pay a York Region waste and wastewater rate increase – the payments to the Region make up 57.3 per cent of the Town’s water and wastewater budget.
Council’s budget deliberations will be held on December 5 and 6.
The draft budget is on-line at www.georgina.ca, and a hard copy is available at the three public libraries.
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