Property tax increase of 2.9% proposed in Guelph-Eramosa

BRUCEDALE – Property taxes will rise by 2.9 per cent in 2020 if Guelph-Eramosa Township council approves the draft budget presented by staff on Nov. 20.

Councillors discussed the draft at a committee of the whole meeting, but did not request any substantial changes.

Finance director Linda Cheyne said the 2.9% increase in programs funded by taxation would require an extra $7.00 in township taxes to be paid for each $100,000 of residential property assessment – $35 for a home assessed at $500,000.

That does not include increases for Wellington County taxes or education taxes.

Residents are invited to attend a presentation on the budget, with an opportunity to ask questions and make comments. It will be held Dec. 9  at the council chambers, 8348 Wellington Road 124 (Brucedale) starting at 7pm.

After that meeting, council will decide the timing of next steps in the budget process. Comments can also be made by contacting the mayor or members of council. Contact information and budget documents are available on the township website,

The township will spend $19.8 million in 2020, with $7 million funded by property taxes and the balance from various fees, grants and withdrawals from reserves. Growth-related property assessment increases will provide new revenue of $156,000.

Administration will cost $1.9 million, planning $265,000, fire and emergency $2.8 million, water and wastewater $4.8 million, parks and recreation $3.7 million and roads $6.2 million.

A 1.7% cost of living pay increase for staff is built into the draft budget, as is a 10% increase in insurance premiums. The budget for township council itself is proposed at $221,000, including $140,725 for salaries.

The total of township funds held in reserve accounts will be $8.5 million as of Jan. 1, 2020, with a projected decline to $7.6 million by the end of the year. The additional amount set aside in 2020 for future infrastructure renewal will be $269,000.

In the capital forecast, there is $60,000 to update the asset management plan and $20,800 to upgrade the phone and voicemail system (originally installed in 2001).

The fire department needs $750,000 for a new pumper truck. This will replace a pumper which has been in service since 1999, and which is requiring repairs with increasing frequency.

“Replacement is necessary to ensure the safety of our firefighters and residents, and to perform our firefighting duties with maximum efficiency,” says the project justification.

For transportation services, there are minor spending increases for bridge and culvert maintenance, line painting, shouldering and tree planting. Maintenance costs have decreased slightly with some roads converted from gravel to hard surface, and fleet costs have decreased due to newer vehicles and more in-house repairs.

Projects totaling $2.1 million in the roads capital forecast will be paid for with reserves ($956,300), development charges ($35,000), grants ($92,200), gas tax funding ($770,000) and a shared-cost payment from Centre Wellington for a boundary road ($300,000).

Jobs include completion of the Bedford Road reconstruction for $170,000, a gravel to asphalt conversion on Seventh Line from Highway 7 to Wellington Road 50 ($825,000) and the resurfacing of sections of several roads: Guelph Street ($62,500), Church Street ($73,000) and Eighth Line Nichol from Wellington Road 7 to Highway 6 ($600,000). A single-axle plow truck replacement will cost $250,000.

Water upgrades in the capital forecast totaling almost $1.5 million will be paid for with reserves ($610,000) and development charges ($860,000). These include a new Rockwood pumping station ($530,000), a computerized monitoring upgrade ($100,000) and three watermain projects: David Mason Park ($80,000), Catherine Street railway crossing ($430,000) and Alma Street ($225,000).

Parks and recreation is requesting a new permanent maintenance staff person to handle additional work resulting from the expansion of Rockmosa Park.