Enniskillen tax increase hits 8.6 percent after funding cuts

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Enniskillen ratepayers are looking at an 8.6 percent tax hike for 2017.
Council green lighted a mun- icipal budget with a 10 percent spending increase May 16. Factoring county and education taxes, ratepayers will see their total tax rate climb 8.6 percent before any increases in assessment set to take effect this year.
Roadwork accounts for the lion’s share of the spending with $731,500 budgeted for capital improvements, including resurfacing and fixing high-priority bridges and culverts.
Enniskillen also plans to spend at least $300,000 to bring the reservoir systems up to date in order to meet the Ministry of the Environment guidelines.
Water meters in Petrolia (which register how much water Enniskillen pays for) will be replaced this year at a cost of $28,000, says Administrator Clerk Duncan McTavish, a move that should have been done five years ago.
McTavish says the township is also ordering a new $155,000 tandem truck as well, with the cost to be split over two years.
Unlike most municipalities, that concentrate on the budget in early spring, Enniskillen works on it over the winter months, with council and staff deciding which projects should be prioritized.
Grants are also reviewed to determine if Enniskillen qualifies for any provincial or federal money for new projects or maintenance.
Projects for 2017 include:
*Replacement of bridge deck on Oil Springs Line to extend its life.
*$335,000 construction work on Shiloh Line between Mandaumin and Fairweather. The road’s base will be replaced and repaved.
*Improvements at the Enniskillen office will be undertaken.  A total of $70,000 will be spent to improve public accessibility including council chambers and a washroom.
Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott added much of the tax increase can be attributed to losing $115,000 in provincial funding as well as landfill revenue. “We’re at a point where we can’t cut any further,” he says. “We have to maintain what we’re spending on roads and bridges.”

Pam Wright/The Independent

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