The UCPR council reviewed the 2024 preliminary budget and adjusted the original tax increase up to 4.25 per cent.
At the regular meeting on October 25, the eight mayors of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) discussed the preliminary 2024 budget as presented by Finance Director Mélanie Gratton.
The capital and operating budgets haven’t entirely been decided yet, but the document does propose a 4.25 per cent increase in 2024 taxes. This was originally set at 3.61 pe rcent, but during the meeting council decided to set aside more funds for community organizations within the municipality and debt payments associated with the Prescott-Russell Residence.
Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux suggested allocating funds to Regroupement Autisme Prescott-Russell (RAPR), which currently has a $43,000 deficit, and Hawkesbury Mayor Robert Lefebvre mentioned that the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital (HGH) submitted s funding request for $200,000.
Russell Township, the City of Clarence-Rockland, and The Nation Municipality have all also requested an increase to the Cultural Fund amounts they receive since they have the largest populations in the UCPR.
Chief Administrator Stéphane Parisien noted that many more organizations will request space in the budget in the weeks ahead and recommended an organization funding policy, which was approved. In the meantime, Leroux suggested the 4.25 per cent increase to deal with the items already mentioned, further suggesting that any leftover amounts could go towards the new Prescott-Russell Residence.
The original 3.61 per cent increase would have resulted in an extra $16 on a resident’s tax bill per $100,000 of assessed value of a house and property. The new 4.25 per cent increase will instead result in approximately $18.84 per $100,000 worth of assessed value, or approximately $52.98 for the average home valued at $281,906 in the UCPR.
The final draft of the 2024 budget will be presented for approval at the next regular meeting on November 22.