South Stormont to limit tax hike to assessment increase

Nation Valley News file photo

LONG SAULT — South Stormont Council aims to boost the township’s bottom line in 2018 by only the rise in assessment — equivalent to a hike of about 2.36 percent on the average home for township purposes.

Tax rates will be left unchanged from last year but applied against this year’s higher assessed property values to generate more revenue overall, the municipality says in a press release announcing council’s Dec. 13 approval in principle for the 2018 South Stormont budget.

South Stormont’s total gross budget, excluding water and wastewater, is $14.14 million.

“The township continues to have positive population growth and we expect this will continue,” said Mayor Jim Bancroft. “However, growth equates to more services required, which results in

additional expenses. South Stormont’s infrastructure commitments, especially in anticipation of 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 2018 budget covers routine operational expenses, adds some money to reserves, and greenlights a number of major municipal projects, including:

• The purchase of a new and innovative Fire and Rescue Tanker Pumper
valued at $495,000;

• Building renovations to the Fire and Rescue Station 1 and the main Public Works garage for a total of $52,000;

• The demolition of the former St. Andrews West Fire Station at an estimated $150,000 cost.

• Buying a new half-ton pickup truck and a new Public Works loader (which was delayed by a year) at a total cost of $167,000;

• $3.765 million in capital work including  sidewalk replacement, a number of new streetlights, the reconstruction of Fairground Drive and Cedar Street, the replacement of the Fly Creek culvert, a Goldfield Road culvert, 2.2 kilometers of Anderson Road East, Island Road East, Delaney Road south of County Road 18 to Island Road, and Sunset Drive on Moulinette Island (federal gas tax funding and provincial funding will assist with capital road projects in the 2018 budget);

• Planning projects to develop land for a total of $414,000, which includes an environmental study of $120,000. (If successful, a Green Municipal Fund grant will assist with the environmental study);

• A Development Charges Study is set to take place in 2018;

• $290,000 for Parks and Recreation projects such as further development of the Ingleside Community Park, purchase of park bleachers and picnic tables, and replacing the dehumidifier at the arena;

• Continuation of the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) program offered to business owners — a program that recognized $356,500 of private investment in 2017.

Meanwhile, the 2018 water and wastewater budget will be presented to council early in 2018, according to the township.

South Stormont says that ratepayers can be assured that service levels in 2018 will remain at status quo.

Look for the results of the next township audit — covering 2017 — in May 2018. Also see the new budget on the township website. South Stormont’s budget represents only one piece of the overall tax bill residents will face in 2018; the full picture also involves Education and United Counties levies.

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