In a split decision, Champlain municipal council approved a municipal tax hike of 5.5 per cent for the year of 2024, for a levy of $8,154,060.
During the special council meeting of Wednesday, January 25, Councillors Sarah Bigelow, Ginette Clément, Michel Lalonde and Paul Émile Duval voted in favor of the tax increase. Councillors Paul Burroughs, Gerry Miner and André Roy voted against it, wanting a lower tax increase for Champlain residents. Councilor Peter Barton was absent during the meeting.
This year, the municipal council decided to spend its funds cautiously, according to Champlain Mayor Normand Riopel.
Riopel said he was in favor of the tax increase, foreseeing the for future needs and investments of the municipality.
“The extra 1% is demanded right now so we aren’t forced to increase our taxes by 7 or 8 per cent next year,” he said. “It’s certain that we won’t stop growing and improving the quality of our infrastructure.”
A one per cent tax increase amounts to nearly 75 000$ to the municipality. That money will be going to the municipal reserves.
The total revenues for the municipality amount to $14,913,195, with a surplus of 75,000$.
The municipality is investing $1,350,000 for the purchase of two pumpers for the fire department, as the shelf life of the current pumpers is nearing expiration, funded by new debt.
The biggest investment the municipality expects to make in 2024 is for the recoating of the L’Orignal water tower, estimated to cost $1,850,000. More than 70 per cent, $1,342,000, of the project’s cost is to be paid through federal and provincial grants will be funding. The remaining $508,000 will be funded through new debt.
Champlain is also investing $352,200 for paving work on Gilles, Lucien, Maurice and Valois streets in the Alolah subdivision. Another $247,000 will be spent on the pulverization, paving and overlay of parts of Pattee Road. Both the Alolah subdivision and Pattee Road renovation projects are to be funded by provincial grants.
Some projects which began in the past year were carried into the 2024 budget. The municipality purchased a new $390,000 snow plow in 2023 to be received in 2024. More than $200,000 of the costs will be funded by municipal reserves and the remaining $178,000 will be paid for by the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR).
The municipality is taking on $1,933,395 in new debt for the King Street project which began in 2022 and is set to be finished in 2024. The UCPR is provided an additional $277,573 for the project.
Champlain took on another $839,552 of new debt for the second phase of the Vankleek Hill arena renovations which were completed last fall.