At Tuesday’s Carleton Place council’s committee of the whole meeting, town treasurer Trisa McConkey presented a draft of the 2020 budget for council discussion and public input. Her presentation, which did not include any water or sewer rates (those were discussed and passed with a 5% increase earlier this fall), calls for a tax rate increase of 1.99%. This means that the average home with an assessed value of $273,750 will see an increase of $35.08 next year.
McConkey provided a comparison against area approximately 20 towns of similar size and make up which showed that only Kemptville has a lower tax rate. Perth’s rate is 13% higher and Smiths Falls is a whopping 50% more. These calculations were based on the $273K home assessment, not those communities’ average home pricing. She cited such issues as OPP billing going up by $92K and Ontario funding going down $76K as some of the reasons for the increase. The town will also be adding 4 new personnel next year to accommodate the growing workloads that increased development and population are bringing. This move will increase the payroll by approximately 3.5% according to the treasurer. The increase will see property tax revenues rise to $11.396M compared to 2019’s $10.76M. These revenues are about a third of the town’s total $31M budget with the other monies coming from grants and development fees.
The budget numbers will be posted on the town’s website (CarletonPlace.ca) and the public comment process is running until January 6th with plans to have the final legislation in place to be approved by the end of that month. Few councilors had any questions on the presentation and only one member of the public rose to speak, asking about water and sewer costs which were not part of the presentation.
The estimates for Bridge Street’s reconstruction in 2021 brought more comments and concerns from councilors than it did during the initial review earlier this month. Back in June council was presented with an estimate of just over $1.4M for road and sidewalk replacement and some landscaping upgrades. The plans were to take advantage of the central bridge replacement that same year to complete the commercial sector’s work. During the summer several meetings were held with business and property owners along with representatives from the BIA and Chamber of Commerce. Based on those discussions, the planning firm R.V. Anderson Associates Ltd came back with a revised figure of $2.1M. Several councilors, including Theresa Fritz and Linda Seccaspina expressed the need for more time and review to see if those costs could be lowered before the next public meeting on the topic scheduled for January.
Council will break for the Christmas holidays returning to their regular meeting schedule on Jan 14th.