Wellington North taxes up 2.3% even though capital, operating budgets drop $5.5-million

Wellington North’s budget will result in a township residential tax increase of 2.3%.

Councillor Dan Yake read from a report summarizing the highlights prepared by treasurer John Jeffrey. Yake said it was a challenge as he took on the finance chairmanship this year.

“It was certainly a very interesting process,” he said.

Yake added that unless one is actually doing it, a person does not know everything that is involved. He cited the commitment of council and staff to a sound and solid budget.

The increase in the township portion of the tax bill is $19.89 on a home with an as­sessment of $170,000.

Those are based on 2008 Wellington County tax ratios, however legislative changes made by the province earlier this year could result in the county changing these ratios for 2009. If changes are made, they would need to happen this week when the county sets its tax policies.

Even though taxes are going up, spending itself is down.

The total operating and capital budget for this year is $9,667,891, roughly $6-million less than 2008 spending of $15,776,123.

“The majority of that difference is in relation to the Sports complex, which was approximately $5.5-million,” said Yake.

General revenue

Money received by Well­ington North includes a grant from the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) of $1,285,000. It has not in­creased since 2003, despite cost increases in all municipalities. In addition, the general revenue includes income from penalties and interest on unpaid property taxes.


This year’s property budget includes the leasing of space from  Wellington County for the provision of medical services in Arthur.

That space is part of the new library building on Char­l­es Street, which was built by the county in 2008, and has been subletted to a doctor and the Upper Grand Family Health Team.


The fire budget includes a transfer of $90,000 to a re­serve fund for an upgrade to the self-contained breathing apparatus used by Wellington North firefighters. The need for that equipment was outlined in a presentation last month.

Yake said a further $75,000 was set aside to fund a new pumper truck for the Arthur department in 2010. The cost  is anticipated to be around $400,000 – based on the last replacement truck, which cost $360,000. Money set aside by the end of 2009 will reach $320,000.

Conservation authorities

Yake said the amounts to  be levied are for three conservation authorities in Well­ing­ton North:

– Grand River Conservation Authority, a 5% increase to $45,559;

– Saugeen Valley Conser­vation Authority, a 9% increase to $51,097; and

– Maitland Valley Conser­vation Authority, an 8% increase to $24,460.

Those levies continue to increase as a result of reduced provincial funding.  Yake said Wellington North council has suggested on numerous occasions the authorities, along with municipalities, should lobby the government to in­crease funding.

“We’ve had many, many discussions in that regard,” he said.

Public Works

The budget includes the purchase of a new snowplow at $199,000, resurfacing of rural roads Line 6 (Wellington County Road 14 to east of Sideroad 7) and Sideroad 7 (Concession 7 to Concession 9). Those will be funded from roads and bridges grants from the province in 2008.

The gas tax received annually ($367,334 this year) from the federal government, will be used to fund minor resurfacing and repair projects.

Yake added the amount of the gas tax is about double from last year.

The reconstruction of Main Street in Mount Forest from Queen to Birmingham Street (also known as the Big Dig) started in 2008, will be finished this year. It was funded with $1,458,219 from the provincial Connecting Link program, $623,995 from the Investing Ontario program, $162,024 from the 2008 Roads and Bridges Grant program. In addition, the Mount Forest BIA provided $150,000.

Application has been made to the Ministry of Trans­portation for additional funding to complete the connection link south of Queen Street on  High­way 6.

Yake said Wellington North received funds from the communities component of the Building Canada Fund for the Durham Street pumping station and the reconstruction of a portion of Normanby Street. Normanby Street will be paid for from federal gas tax funds received in previous years.

There is also a further amount of $50,000 transferred to a reserve for the new public works shop in Arthur. The total cost of that facility is about $1.7 million.

Works Superintendent Gary Williamson said other money has been set aside for that project and the municipality has applied for other government funding for it. He noted it is a combination works and water and sewer facility that will provide space for the water and sewer work, a sand and salt shed and a proper snow dumping area.

“It’s development of the whole site, not just one little building.”


Yake said the Mount Forest Sports complex was completed in 2008, and 2009 will mark the first full year of operation.

The budget includes debenture payments on the debt for it. A portion of the new debt is needed to fund contributions from Southgate Township and the fundraising committee. The township anticipates those funds will come in periodically over the next several years.

The budget also includes the purchase of a new ice resurfacers for the Mount Forest Sports complex using reserves from previous years and $47,000 from the 2009 budget. The total cost of the resurfacer is $82,000.


The planning budget in­cludes an amount to pay legal costs associated with an application for the Wilson Quarry near Monck. That application has been at council for well over a decade.


The township is applying for further infrastructure funding offered by the federal and provincial governments in 2009, under the second intake of the communities component of the Building Canada Fund and the Recreational Infra­structure Canada program.

Long Term Debt

Outstanding long term debt currently is comprised of two main projects in Mount Forest – the sewage treatment plant, $2,640,756 (which is covered by water and sewer charges for those who use its facilities) and the Mount Forest and District Sports complex, $6,760,000.

Reserve and reserve funds

Finally, Yake said at the end of 2008, $1,618,523 was set aside for reserves and $2,581,330 in reserve funds.

“These monies have been set aside primarily to fund anti­cipated future capital expenditures minimizing or avoiding entirely the need for additional long term debt to accommodate such expenditures.”

He said that while reserve funds are set aside for specific projects, council has the opportunity to make changes through bylaw.

Mayor Broomhead said five years ago when the township set its goal for its coming major projects, especially at the end of the second year, it started setting aside funds to offset the debenture costs. He believes that move is helping the municipality now.

Broomhead said all the major projects planned are happening this year.

Yake said council and staff knew it was going to be a tough year. “We knew certain issues were coming up and they would need to be dealt with.”

Treasurer John Jeffrey said that even though gross expenditures are dropping, taxes are going up to accommodate its long term debt payments.