Puslinch proposes 5.75% tax rate impact for 2020 budget

PUSLINCH – Council here is considering a 5.75 per cent tax rate increase for 2021.

The increase is based on the 2020 returned assessment roll and director of finance Mary Hasan said the township will present the tax impact of the proposed levy on median/typical properties once the township receives the 2021 roll return this month.

Levy-funded expenditures in the 2020 budget include:

  • capital: $1.5 million, $98,150 more than last year, with an estimated tax rate impact of 2.28%; and
  • operational: $3 million, $149,212 more than last year, with an estimated tax rate impact of 3.47%.

That means about $4.6 million of the total budget will be funded by taxation.

At the Nov. 25 budget meeting, director of finance Mary Hasan explained that increased taxation contribution can be attributed to:

  • increases in salaries, benefits and shared service agreement costs based on the council-approved 2020 organization review and a modernization grant funding from the province that’s allocated for specific positions in the 2021 proposed operating budget; and
  • increased costs related to the automation and electronic service delivery processes.

However, staff has decided to forego a cost of living increase this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I just want to say thank you to the staff for making this recommendation and not making this a difficult conversation,” said councillor Jessica Goyda.

“This is obviously a terrible year and our constituents are going through difficult times, so I just wanted to say thank you to the staff for bringing that forward.”

Hasan also said the final budget will result in less than a 5.75% increase in tax rate because when that rate was calculated more money was allocated to community grants than council decided to distribute.

“That will result in a slight reduction in that amount,” Hasan said.

Some other base operational-budget increases include both one-time and permanent costs.

One-time costs include:

  • heritage plaques for $1,900 from the 2020 heritage committee operating budget surplus;
  • planning advertising for $1,500 from 2020 planning operating budget surplus;
  • fire and rescue services, Red Cross, first responder certification for $1,290;
  • fire and rescue services Red Cross instructor certification for $630; and
  • fire and rescue services installation of new civic address signs for $8,111;

Permanent costs include:

  • bylaw enforcement officer’s safety work shoes for $175;
  • fire and rescue services Canadian critical incident stress foundations course for $2,550;
  • fire and rescue services, Red Cross CPR certification for $860;
  • Puslinch community centre outdoor maintenance for $2,800; and
  • public works, calcium for $7,436.

North Wellington Community News