One-per-cent tax increase in Essa
Lots of capital projects on the table though
BY Matthew Talbot Alliston Herald March 15, 2010
ESSA – The Township of Essa approved a one-per-cent tax increase at its committee of the whole meeting March 3 and ratified the budget in council.
The increase was hashed out at two previous budget meetings, during which councillors cut several projects and expenses to keep taxes low. Essa Mayor David Guergis called the increase fiscally responsible, saying the township is maintaining its tradition of falling into one of the area’s lowest tax brackets. Nearby, the Town of New Tecumseth is increasing municipal taxes by 4.56 per cent in 2010.
Essa treasurer Julie Barrett said Municipal Property Assessment Corporation assessments on homes in the township vary per home and would cause the one per cent tax increase to fluctuate for some.
Depending on the assessment, she said, “Some people will have a one per cent increase, some people will have less and some people will have more.”
The 2010 municipal levy is pegged at $3,784,002, which is up 4.82 per cent from $3,609,702 in 2010.
While the levy has increased this year, so has the tax base as Essa continues to grow.
According to detailed budget documents drafted by Barrett, in 2009 Essa received $7,278,519 in revenue from grants, support taxes, various upper tier government agency contributions and the township’s treasury department versus expenses of $1,180,442 in council and staff costs and in a transfer to reserves.
In 2010, council costs amount to $164,712 (up about $3,000 from last year) and staff costs amount to $1,150,391 (up about $150,000 from last year), while there is no transfer to reserves. However, revenues from grants are slightly down this year. Overall, Essa expects $5,885,190 in general government revenues, which is $212,887 less this year than last.
Roads department costs are pegged at $4,950,298, which is an increase of $622,382 in 2010.
Protection to persons and property (emergency services, bylaw enforcement, etc.) costs are up by $362,446. However, that’s offset by a decrease of $392,883 in environmental and public works costs.
The largest increase in the budget is in recreation and cultural facilities. An increase of $1,588,767 from $4,364,884 in 2009 to $5,953,651 in 2010 is marked by a dramatic increase in the cost of parks and buildings. In 2009, that department cost Essa $397,834. In 2010, parks and buildings are budgeted to cost $2,971,444. Meanwhile, library costs are dropping by about $1 million from $3,769,363 in 2009 to $2,761,722 in 2010.
Essa is planning dozens of capital projects in the 2010 fiscal year.
The township is replacing the fire truck that crashed late last year after responding to a call at a cost of $294,00, though that’s offset by $260,000 in insurance proceeds.
A new OPP community office is expected to cost about $155,000.
Capital projects through the transportation department are expected to cost $3,062,100 – the township’s largest capital expenditure. Essa budgeted $882,500 for reconstruction and a double surface treatment on the 10th Line from County Road 21 to the 20th Sideroad. Council opted to cut a similar project on the 10th Line from the 5th Sideroad to the 10th Sideroad from the budget to save costs.
Through the recreation department, Essa is planning on relocating the skateboard park and adding a new base and paving the parking lot in Ivy.
Essa also budgeted $1.7 million for the banquet hall and viewing area at the Angus Hall.
The public and separate school board levies, and the Simcoe County levy have yet to be established. They will contribute to Essa residents’ overall tax rates.