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Town budget expected to bring tax increase to residents

MalcomMorris

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts – Smiths Falls

The regular Smiths Falls Committee of the Whole meeting held on April 25 and the final draft budget was a topic on the table. Even though the budget recommends a tax increase there was general agreement among council that this year’s increase was necessary to get the town back on track with capital projects that have been long deferred.

The town’s total budget as presented in the draft, shows operational expenditures of $22,947,807, revenues of $24,673,576 and a transfer to reserve of $1,726,769.

Tax increases

A four percent tax hike has been approved by the committee of the whole. The jump reflects a 0.5 percent increase in town taxes (formerly known as the mill rate) plus the 3.5 percent phased in assessment increase. The town portion of that increase (0.5 percent) will cost the average household that is assessed at $163,000 in 2016 an additional $12.90 per year. While the 3.5 percent MPAC assessment increase will add another $77.46 annually.

The tax increase will allow the town to transfer 1.7 million into reserves towards capital projects. “This budget reflects a departure from the way we did things before,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris. “We’re directing monies into reserves because it’s clear we have an infrastructure backlog, and the only way to deal with it is to put money away to apply to it.”

While council members were in agreement there was some discomfort around the horseshoe.

“I have some concerns about affordability of these increases,” said Jay Brennan, councillor. “Do we need to put 1.7 million into reserve all in one year?” asked Joe Gallipeau, councillor.

“So much work has been deferred this far that we’re going to have to catch up. What has to be done now is the most critical work,” said Shawn Pankow, mayor.

Water rate increase
Also starting June 2016 water users in town will see a 7.9 percent increase in their water/wastewater rates, which means an additional $14.46 per bi-monthly billing on average annual consumption of 200 cubic meters.

“If our goal was for cost recovery for the just the water and wastewater plants, we would be there now, but our goal is total cost recovery including delivery and collection, and we’re not there yet,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris.

The town has also started to migrate stormwater costs out of water rates as recommended by the Asset Management Plan consultants.

Budget savings
As directed by council, staff managed to slash nearly $700,000 from the town’s operational budget, a drop of 1.7 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The police budget also came lower again this year, with a surplus of $193,000 from 2015. Overall policing now costs the town 30 percent of total budget down from nearly 40 percent in previous years.

“In this fiscal environment, we are doing our part in being sustainable,” said Bob Dowdall, chief of Smiths Falls Police.

The town’s budget report is available online at the town’s website under council minutes and agendas.
The budget will now come forward for first reading at the regular council meeting on May 2nd.

Photo: Presenting the final draft budget to council, CAO Malcolm Morris pointed out that staff had managed to cut nearly $700,000 from the operational budget, through a series of small reductions that added up.

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2 Responses to “Town budget expected to bring tax increase to residents”

  1. Peggy G says:

    The one big reason I want to leave Smiths Falls is because you are taxing way too high and do not make it desirable for people to come here as a resident and stay. I can’t even sell the house for what it is worth because many people are trying to get out of town.

    Start looking at MLS to see how many houses are for sales in Smiths Falls compared to other places. You want to increase taxes, start asking yourself why are there so many houses up for sale and why do people want to get out of town. It’s not just about jobs and paying your wages, it’s quality of life and supporting a community. Show benefits. Show Incentives and money back renovation opportunities. Give us a reason to stay.

    I am actually working full-time commuting from Ottawa and I am here because I like small towns. If you continue to increase taxes again, I might as well join the hundreds of other people and leave. Start looking at how to keep residents and not scare them away. Make it a benefit to stay here with affordable taxes , lower water bills, and other perks. Looks at all the houses for sale in town? Take a look at your street/backyard. Do you want people to stay or support a ghost town with an empty houses all over the place

    Not a happy Resident.

  2. Shirley says:

    This increase has made my decision to leave Smiths Falls-I am struggling now-as a home owner I can’t afford to stay!!


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Town budget expected to bring tax increase to residents

MalcomMorris

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts – Smiths Falls

The regular Smiths Falls Committee of the Whole meeting held on April 25 and the final draft budget was a topic on the table. Even though the budget recommends a tax increase there was general agreement among council that this year’s increase was necessary to get the town back on track with capital projects that have been long deferred.

The town’s total budget as presented in the draft, shows operational expenditures of $22,947,807, revenues of $24,673,576 and a transfer to reserve of $1,726,769.

Tax increases

A four percent tax hike has been approved by the committee of the whole. The jump reflects a 0.5 percent increase in town taxes (formerly known as the mill rate) plus the 3.5 percent phased in assessment increase. The town portion of that increase (0.5 percent) will cost the average household that is assessed at $163,000 in 2016 an additional $12.90 per year. While the 3.5 percent MPAC assessment increase will add another $77.46 annually.

The tax increase will allow the town to transfer 1.7 million into reserves towards capital projects. “This budget reflects a departure from the way we did things before,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris. “We’re directing monies into reserves because it’s clear we have an infrastructure backlog, and the only way to deal with it is to put money away to apply to it.”

While council members were in agreement there was some discomfort around the horseshoe.

“I have some concerns about affordability of these increases,” said Jay Brennan, councillor. “Do we need to put 1.7 million into reserve all in one year?” asked Joe Gallipeau, councillor.

“So much work has been deferred this far that we’re going to have to catch up. What has to be done now is the most critical work,” said Shawn Pankow, mayor.

Water rate increase
Also starting June 2016 water users in town will see a 7.9 percent increase in their water/wastewater rates, which means an additional $14.46 per bi-monthly billing on average annual consumption of 200 cubic meters.

“If our goal was for cost recovery for the just the water and wastewater plants, we would be there now, but our goal is total cost recovery including delivery and collection, and we’re not there yet,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris.

The town has also started to migrate stormwater costs out of water rates as recommended by the Asset Management Plan consultants.

Budget savings
As directed by council, staff managed to slash nearly $700,000 from the town’s operational budget, a drop of 1.7 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The police budget also came lower again this year, with a surplus of $193,000 from 2015. Overall policing now costs the town 30 percent of total budget down from nearly 40 percent in previous years.

“In this fiscal environment, we are doing our part in being sustainable,” said Bob Dowdall, chief of Smiths Falls Police.

The town’s budget report is available online at the town’s website under council minutes and agendas.
The budget will now come forward for first reading at the regular council meeting on May 2nd.

Photo: Presenting the final draft budget to council, CAO Malcolm Morris pointed out that staff had managed to cut nearly $700,000 from the operational budget, through a series of small reductions that added up.

Share Button

2 Responses to “Town budget expected to bring tax increase to residents”

  1. Peggy G says:

    The one big reason I want to leave Smiths Falls is because you are taxing way too high and do not make it desirable for people to come here as a resident and stay. I can’t even sell the house for what it is worth because many people are trying to get out of town.

    Start looking at MLS to see how many houses are for sales in Smiths Falls compared to other places. You want to increase taxes, start asking yourself why are there so many houses up for sale and why do people want to get out of town. It’s not just about jobs and paying your wages, it’s quality of life and supporting a community. Show benefits. Show Incentives and money back renovation opportunities. Give us a reason to stay.

    I am actually working full-time commuting from Ottawa and I am here because I like small towns. If you continue to increase taxes again, I might as well join the hundreds of other people and leave. Start looking at how to keep residents and not scare them away. Make it a benefit to stay here with affordable taxes , lower water bills, and other perks. Looks at all the houses for sale in town? Take a look at your street/backyard. Do you want people to stay or support a ghost town with an empty houses all over the place

    Not a happy Resident.

  2. Shirley says:

    This increase has made my decision to leave Smiths Falls-I am struggling now-as a home owner I can’t afford to stay!!


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