Wellington County in fairly good financial health as budget deliberations approach
Wellington County projects year-end surplus of $ 1.8-2.5 million
Despite the effect COVID-19 has had on the economy, Wellington County’s financial position at the end of the year is pretty good, the county treasurer told the council on Friday as initial budget discussions began.
Wellington County Council met on Friday for a special meeting for its initial budget discussion.
“We are currently working with departments on what the 10-year capital plan looks like,” said Ken DeHart, county treasurer.
“We are preparing to present a budget to the staff and advisory committee or department team by the end of this month. I don’t have any numbers to present today just because of the status of the process and this is just the initial budget report and discussion.
DeHart reported that the full impact of the pandemic on the 2022 budget is still unknown at the time.
It is important to note that due to the pandemic, the average costs of goods and services in the country have been higher than historical trends. In Canada, there was an increase of 4.1 percent; in Ontario, there was a 4% increase; and in Toronto, there was a 3.3 percent increase.
However, the county has accumulated a surplus of $ 1.8-2.5 million from policing, economic development, Ontario Works, general government, general revenue or expenditure, and additional taxes.
“This projected surplus is a bit higher than historical trends,” he said.
“The provincial and federal governments have provided funding to municipalities to offset the negative impacts of COVID on our operations, which has helped tremendously.
“There are other elements in our operations that have not been able to operate at full capacity, or there have been delays in hiring processes, etc. that contribute to a larger surplus. We don’t usually see no surpluses in the county that we have lived in for the past two years.
At this time, no recommendations have been made on what the board will do with the surplus. At this point, the surplus is only a projection; it can be higher or lower depending on the destination of the board at the end of the year.
“I want to say that residents can look forward to a few important projects and priorities in this year’s budget, such as the implementation of the climate change mitigation and adaptation plan, planning for additional investments in improving rural broadband, building a new public works facility in Arthur, planning for a new library branch in Erin, investing in roads, bridges and affordable housing, ”DeHart said .
Regarding the tax increase, the council has not yet received an estimated figure or percentage, but the target is around 2%.
This target stems from pressures for capital needs, such as reducing the infrastructure deficit, long-term care regulations to comply with, climate change initiatives and increases in food costs. , fuel, construction and personnel costs.
“I want to ask to look at what really needs to be done as a county. I know my city and my citizens are facing some pretty big tax bills mainly because of the impact value of their homes, ”said Erin Mayor Allan Alls.
“It’s constantly escalating; it helps us locally when we go into tax returns because we get income that we did not anticipate sometimes. But I think we should look at some of our programs where we can keep our tax percentage low. To be honest, I don’t even know a number that would work. The county and the committees have some good projects coming up, but we need to figure out which one is a priority, so that we can find a good tax percentage. “