Brooke-Alvinston passes 5.77 per cent tax increase

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Brooke-Alvinston Mayor David Ferguson was hoping this year’s projected six per cent tax increase could be trimmed. It has been – by a third of one per cent.

Brooke-Alvinston council passed the $4,690,493 operating budget and the $1,763,750 capital budget Feb. 23 after council made a number of changes earlier in the month.

 Treasurer Stephen Ikert says council added $5,000 for a Community Improvement Plan grant, $65,000 was removed from the public works budget after the manager said a number of items could be put off this year. Council also increased the amount of revenue which it expects from the community centre to $16,000. Brooke-Alvinston, like other municipalities, had very few rentals in 2022 due to the lingering pandemic.

In the end, the changes only reduced the tax increase to 5.77 per cent, says Ikert. That means a $44.16 increase in taxes for every $100,000 of assessed value of a home. The taxes on farm land would increase by about $10 for every $100,000 of value.

Brooke-Alvinston is facing the same pressures as many other communities, including rising inflation and insurance costs.

Wages in the municipality have risen about six per cent, mainly because the Community Centre/Recreation Department has more full time workers this year.

The cost of gravel and fuel is also up.

And, Brooke-Alvinston has the added hurdle of provincial funding cuts. The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund grant this year has dropped 13 per cent or $67,800.

This year Brooke-Alvinston will receive $453,900 but Ikert warned the cuts will continue with another $200,000 likely to be on the chopping block. 

While council approved the yearly spending plan, it wasn’t without some concern.

Councillor Don McCabe says the budget is “a sobering reminder” that the municipality is facing needs totalling nearly $10 million in the next five years even as the municipality depletes reserves to keep the tax increase as low as possible this year.

BY THE NUMBERS

√ $4,690,493 the cost to operate the municipality in 2023

√ $ 1,763,750 – the amount of money to be spent on capital projects

√ $650,000 – the cost to repair Lasalle Line West – $600,000 comes from grants

√ $360,000 new plow – about $300,000 to come from reserves

√ $330,000 – for the balance of the cost of the new fire truck paid in 2023 – $135,000 is coming from reserves

√ $ 384,406 – the amount of money paid for road repair in 2022

√ $ 747,500 – the amount of money set aside for road repair in 2023

√ $62,000 – the cash for asset management consulting

√ $33,000 0 for Inwood Park, soft surface for playground and bleachers