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Wellesley approves 2022 budget with 5.2% tax increase

Wellesley residents are looking at a 5.2 per cent increase on the township portion of their property tax bills as council this week approved the budget for 2022. That will add $54.97 to the average charge, based on a home with an assessed value of $383,000.

The increase represents an increase of 2.72 per cent for service-level increases, 1.97 per cent for a general levy increase, and 0.5 per cent for a special greening levy.

The budget was passed at Tuesday night’s council session, with no one registering to speak at the public meeting.

Operating expenditures are currently pegged at $9,180,718, up 6.7 per cent from the $8,601,399 budgeted for in 2021. Increased costs are being led by a couple of new hires from the recently completed organizational review. A higher-than-expected inflation rate is also part of the equation, says the township’s mayor.

“Just the increase or the projected increase on gasoline for all our vehicles, that was almost a per cent right there. Some things you just can’t control, but you have to be prepared for it and your budget,” said Joe Nowak.

“The other thing that possibly people will be concerned about or want more clarification about would be the staff complements. We are adding some more staff, but there hasn’t been any staff increase that I’m aware of for about three or four years.  We’re starting to see more work downloaded from the province and from the region – it’s really very challenging, extremely challenging for our staff.”

Of the expenditures, the largest single share – 35.8 per cent – is allotted to public works, followed by 20 per cent for recreation and 13 per cent for the fire department.

The $9.18 million in expenditures is offset by equal revenues, almost two-thirds of which will come from taxes, treasurer Saleem Sandhu told councillors.

“The major source is taxation, $5.8 million, then the second major source is user fees ($1.5 million), then general revenue ($1.04 million) and then grants ($848,000),” he said.

On the capital side, the township is planning to spend $2.75 million, including $913,000 for road works, $478,000 for bridges and culverts and $677,000 for recreation.

Overall, the budget reflects some growth in the township that requires increased spending, as identified in the organization review, said Nowak.

“Nobody appreciates any sort of an increase, and I just hope people understand the rationale and why this has to happen. I think other communities have done it. Other townships have done it over the last few years. I know Wilmot did it a few years ago, and when the dust settled I think people realized that they were being served better. That’s what we’re aiming at just to make sure that the residents get their needs addressed.”

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