Hawkesbury council decided during its Monday meeting which of three possible options for a tax increase would become part of the 2023 municipal budget plan. Treasurer Philippe Timbers presented his report on the potential impact of three tax rates that council members debated on during their mid-January review of the draft budget.
Last month council asked Timbers and his staff to evaluate the possible impact on municipal finances for three suggested tax rate options for the 2023 budget. The options were for 3.95 per cent, 3.5 per cent, and 2.95 per cent tax increases.
Timbers’ report to council noted that revisions to the first draft of the budget may create a shortfall in the 2023 budget plan that will have to paid for in the 2024 budget. If the tax increase for this year’s budget is 3.95 per cent then the deficit carried over into the 2024 budget would be $200,000. The shortfall is because of a municipal organizational review that must be done this year.
The other two options would require using between $52,000 to $115,000 in unused surplus money put in reserve from past budgets to keep the 2023 shortfall at $200,000. The 2024 budget plan would then have to cover that extra money in addition to the expected $200,000 shortfall.
During their discussion of the report, most council members favoured Option 1 for a 3.95-per-cent tax increase to keep the expected shortfall at $200,000. Councillors Antonio Tsourounakis and Jeanne Charlebois argued for a 3.5-per-cent increase and use of some surplus funds to cover part of the shortfall.
The final decision was for Option 1 and a 3.95-per-cent tax increase. Councillor Charlebois was the sole dissenting vote on the decision.
Council also approved the final 2023 budget figures. The final budget will be $34,000,544, including a capital works budget of $13.1 million. For the average homeowner in Hawkesbury, the tax rate increase will mean $74 more on the Hawkesbury portion of their property tax bill. Other residents may see higher or lower increases on their tax bills depending on the latest assessment of the value of their property.