Minto budget expected for consideration April 21

Treasurer Gord Duff anticipates a motion to approve the Minto’s 2015 budget will be before council at its April 21 meeting.

Duff said a public open house on the budget, held April 7 in the council chamber, drew “five times as many people” as the 2014 open house.

“We had five people this year and one last year,” he noted. However, he added, “The ones that did come had good questions.”

Notwithstanding the 11th hour influx of public opinion, Duff said the budget expected to come before council at its next meeting will be largely unchanged from an earlier draft, that projected a 3.8 per cent tax levy increase for local municipal purposes.

Following a budget meeting on March 10 the town was projecting a $7.1-million capital spending plan to be funded by $2.5 million of new borrowing, $1.6 million in grants, $1.7 million from reserves and revenue, and the balance from unspent 2014 capital budget and land sales.

Duff told the Advertiser on April 8 the capital spending estimates had been trimmed to just over $6.9 million through cuts including the elimination of about $132,000 worth of road work on Queen Street in Palmerston.

Major capital projects include Harriston Elora Street reconstruction and streetscape at $1.7 million, three blocks of Ann Street in Clifford $430,000, James Street in Palmerston $816,000, and resurfacing 6th Line of Minto $480,000 over two years. The Bride Road culvert will be completed at a cost of $652,000, along with $90,000 more in culvert work in the rural areas.

The town is projecting just under $4 million in operating costs this year, up from around $3.8 million in 2014. The net impact of the budget as it stands, blended with county and projected education rate, would be 2.3% on the average residential ratepayer in a home valued at $205,000. That translates into $65 more per year, of which $39 goes to Minto.

Duff noted the tax impact projections could change slightly once Wellington County provides its final figures.

“Until Wellington does their tax ratios and tax policies, everything to do with that is preliminary,” Duff cautioned.