For a property valued at $200,000, the rise represents an extra $38.48 in property tax, of which $30.28 will go to the municipality, and $8.20 will be allocated to the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. The municipal increase is lower than the 4.7 percent increase in the 2020 budget.
The 2021 measures include a $14,490,820 operating budget and an investment of $6,078,660 in capital projects. Some $1,019,296 will be allocated to debt service payments, a reduction of $44,750. A total of $720,000 will be issued in grants for capital projects.
Much of the projects’ budget is dedicated to road improvements in the township. The water and sewer systems of St Denis and Stephens streets in Vankleek Hill will be improved, and the surfaces rehabilitated, in a $1.3 million project. King Street in L’Orignal will also be rehabilitated, due in part to a $2.24 million grant from the federal and provincial governments. The United Counties of Prescott and Russell will pay up to 50 percent of some costs in the project. Another $60,000 will be spent sealing fissures on Sandy Hill and Pattee roads.
Other funding includes $75,000 for a new play structure in Miner Park, $69,300 for new economic development strategic plans, $7500 for the second phase of the community improvement plan for business owners, and $50,000 for the community grants program. Another $70,000 will be spent to change lights at the Vankleek Hill arena to LED to save energy and cost.
Mayor Normand Riopel said the budget provided funding for maintenance while considering the challenges of the past year. “I’m very pleased with the result of the works of our elected representatives and departments heads, who delivered a budget commensurate with our residents’ ability to pay, while continuing essential infrastructure maintenance,” he said.
Chief administrative officer Paula Knudsen said the budget’s passing allowed the township to maintain existing infrastructure while planning for the future through multiple projects.