SOUTH STORMONT — The end-of-March payment deadline looms on South Stormont interim tax bills, but residential property owners can rest assured their municipal tax rate has only gone up by an inflationary 1.8 percent even as the township collects 4.4 percent more as a whole. All told, the recently approved 2017 budget aims to pull $5.983 million into township coffers, up a little more than $254,000 from last year’s $5.729 million levy.
Approved by South Stormont Council March 8, the 2017 residential rate hike comes to $7.54 per $100,000 of residential assessment, or $14.67 on the average-valued home of $213,710, according to the township treasurer. The municipality’s total budget is $16.59-million.
The township points to its real growth that is producing overall higher assessment and increased tax dollars.
“The township was excited to learn of our positive population growth, and we hope this will continue. However new homes equates to more services required, which results in additional expenses,” said Mayor Jim Bancroft. “South Stormont’s infrastructure commitments, especially in anticipation of receiving an updated Asset Management Plan, are enormous. Infrastructure investment is essential. There are a lot of capital assets requiring attention and, quite frankly, not enough federal and provincial dollars to assist us.”
The 2017 municipal budget includes routine operational expenses and socks away additional dollars for reserves.
On the capital expenditure side, the township plans the following projects:
- $1.7-million to construct a new St. Andrews West Fire Station, without any outside funding sources;
- 2017 equipment purchases including new Public Works loader;
- $1.883-million Road works include sidewalk replacement, Fairground Drive and Cedar Street culverts, Woodlands Road, Anderson Road West, MacMillan Bridge approach slabs, Mille Roches Road, Sunset Drive on Moulinette Island and capital street lighting for a total capital investment of . Federal gas tax funds and provincial formula OCIF funding will assist with these capital projects;
- $322,000 for planning projects to develop lands for sale;
- $501,223 for Parks and Recreation arena renovations, further development of the Ingleside Community Park, an accessible lift for the St. Andrews West pool, and automatic doors for the Ingleside and Long Sault Libraries;
- Capital upgrades for the township’s five Water and Wastewater Plants, and more significantly, an Ingleside Sewer Capacity Study;
- Continuation of the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) program offered to business owners, an initiative that spurred $860,000 of private investment last year;
- A new HD camera with audio in the Council Chambers to further promote the township’s accountability and transparency measures.
The township will also apply an innovative surface treatment — called Fog Seal — to a 1.9-km stretch of Anderson Road. Fog seal is a surface treatment overlay consisting of an emulsion and fine aggregate. It extends the life of the road surface by adhering to the stone that snow plows would typically kick out or loosen in the winter, adding strength and longevity. There is also an aesthetic appeal in that it closely resembles asphalt in finished appearance.
Director of Public Works Ross Gellately said, “This is a new treatment in South Stormont and as far as I know has not been used in SD&G previously.”
Ratepayers are assured the level of service for 2017 remains status quo, according to a township press release. The 2017 budget documents are available on South Stormont’s website.
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