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Woolwich tax rate hike officially 3.13%

Facing a 3.13 per cent increase in their Woolwich property taxes, the average household will pay an additional $26.70 to the township this year.

Woolwich council this week gave quick approval to the 2017 budget, making the increases official.

Based on the average residential assessment of $340,102, homeowners will shell out about $810 to cover just the share of taxes collected by the township, which gets about a quarter of the total – more than half of the bill goes to the Region of Waterloo, with the rest being scooped up by the school boards.

For this year’s increase, 1.63 per cent goes to the general levy, while 1.5 per cent is a special infrastructure levy to help pay for Woolwich’s growing list of roads, bridges and buildings in need of repair or replacement.

Along with the increases to the township’s operating budget – which will also get a boost from assessment growth of about two per cent – councillors also approved a capital budget of more than $19 million, with most of the proposed spending compromised of $11.5 million, for roads, bridges and sewers.

Working out the final details Tuesday night, councillors finalized plans for capital spending on parks and playgrounds, having earlier discussed swapping out work in St. Jacobs for overdue improvements in Breslau. While moving up work on the playground in Breslau Memorial Park to 2018, they opted to go ahead this year with new playground equipment in Riverside Meadows in St. Jacobs.

Coun. Larry Shantz noted the citizens’ committee looking at revamping the Breslau park is still in the early stages of planning, making next year a more likely timeframe for the playground work.

The existing playground equipment, deemed unsafe, will be removed. If extra money can be found from savings in this year’s budget, some preliminary site preparation might get done, he added.

“That’s the work for this year. The majority of it can done in future years.”

Earlier, council had added $5,000 to this year’s budget to remove what Coun. Mark Bauman called “the tetanus playground,” given its decrepit state.

Tuesday night’s vote also gave formal approval to the 2017 water and wastewater budgets.

The water rate remains unchanged at $1.71 per cubic metre even though the region has increased its bulk water rate by some two per cent.

Wastewater charges will go up 3.87 per cent to $2.50 per cubic metre, reflecting a regional price increase of 7.9 per cent. That hike will add about $20.40 a year – $3.40 per bimonthly billing period – to the average user’s bill, based on the consumption of 204 cubic meters annually.

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