Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper says it is a realistic budget.
Taxpayers are looking at a 7.2 per cent municipal tax increase – about $38.83 more for every $100,000 of residential tax assessment or about $85 more for an average house valued at $220,000.
Municipal councillors reviewed the $14,075,708 document, up more than $527,000 than last year.
A report from staff shows that most departments have increased spending by less than three per cent. General Government is the exception. It’s spending nearly six per cent more in part to pay for new computers and 11 iPads as well as to update the municipality’s asset management plan. Without it, Plympton-Wyoming won’t receive as much grant money especially the Federal Gas Tax for roads.
The town ended 2015 with a $577,922 surplus. That money was put into reserves to help rebuild the town’s assets – roads and buildings.
The town’s current asset management plan says $1.2 million per year should be set aside in reserve each year. Town staff says that would increase taxes on the average home by nearly $200 this year and didn’t recommend it.
There was some extra revenue for Plympton-Wyoming to work with – there was more money from the provincial government – about $36,700 – and federal gas tax revenue of $441,000. The municipality gets about $88,000 from the province for capital projects.
The budget also takes about $256,000 out of reserves to pay for capital projects around the municipality.
There will be more money for road projects – the budget calls for $226,000 more this year. There will also be more money for Parks and Recreation. Plympton-Wyoming plans to build a splashpad in Wyoming this year at a cost of $183,000. The Wyoming Lions have already committed $60,000 to the project. The federal government has also given a $59,000 for it.
There is also about $25,000 to be spent on repairs at the Wyoming Pool including a new diving board. And $10,000 has been set aside to open Lamrecton Park to the public this year.
While councillors reviewed the budget, they didn’t make any changes according to Napper. “Nobody likes increases but this budget looks at our needs,” he says. “We didn’t put down a percentage point (where we wanted to be), this is where we need to be at to do what we wanted to do.”
Napper says it is very important for the municipality to start putting away money for infrastructure. Without a municipal contribution, the federal and provincial governments are less likely to award grants to Plympton-Wyoming, he says.
Napper points out when property owners get their combined tax bill including taxes for provincial education and the County of Lambton, they’ll likely pay about three per cent more than last year.
“I don’t think anybody likes it, but it is what it has got to be,” he says. “We’re continuing on with lots of work, we’re doing King Street, replacing waterlines, doing roadwork because of the turbines…erosion control, doing sidewalk work in Wyoming. We’re moving ahead….and we’re putting money into reserves. If we don’t put money in there, there are a lot of paved roads that we’re going to have to put back to gravel.
“It’s a realistic budget.”
Town residents will get a chance to have input on the document at council’s April 13 meeting.