Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
Help
Follow

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

Woolwich passes budget with 5.37% tax hike for 2022

Woolwich residents will see a 5.37 per cent tax hike this year under a budget approved Monday night during an at-times contentious council session.

That amounts to an extra $50, based on a home with an average assessed value of $400,000.

The budget includes an operating budget of $21,165,461, a 10 per cent increase from the 2021 budget, and capital spending of $25,541,316, up 18.6 per cent over what was budgeted last year.

The tax increase includes a 2.02 increase in the base level, a 2.5 per cent infrastructure levy and 0.85 per cent special levy for greening projects.

Along with the tax hikes, the township is expecting revenues from new assessment to grow by 4.3 per cent, money rolled into this year’s increased expenditures.

Typically set at 1.5 per cent, the infrastructure levy was increased after council determined the township continues to fall behind on needed improvements to the likes of roads and bridges.

A plan to borrow money to pay for one infrastructure project in particular – the rehabilitation of the Peel Street bridge in Winterbourne – proved to be a major stumbling block, prompting Couns. Murray Martin and Larry Shantz to vote against the budget. The final tally followed Coun. Patrick Merlihan’s opting to vote in favour of the budget despite reservations in order to preserve the project.

Both Martin and Shantz had pressed to defer the project, which will convert the century-old structure into a pedestrian crossing.

“It’s not a good investment,” said Martin, who suggested a new bridge open to vehicular traffic that would incorporate heritage components of the existing steel-truss span.

“Fifteen, 20 years  down the road when this bridge needs a whole lot more work or maybe has to be closed, and then when you look at the cost of redoing it or building a new one, the people are going to scream and say ‘why didn’t the previous council look at it when they had the chance.’”

“If we decide not to do it, we’re not breaking any promises,” said Shantz of any decision to defer.

As with some other councillors, he expressed concerns about the lack of council control of this year’s budget process.

“For the first time, council pre-endorsed a 4.85 per cent increase and sent staff off to prepare a budget. It felt to me like the 2022 budget was already passed in August long before we had a chance to see any numbers,” he said.

The meeting got tense later when Coun. Patrick Merlihan said the process is typically staff-led, suggesting council often failed to provide budget oversight throughout his two terms.

“There’s a lot of spending here in this budget this year – this is my concern – and a lot of new taxes,” he said.

“I think there’s people on this council that I really hope for the sake of Woolwich Township’s future don’t run again.”

That prompted an interjection from Coun. Fred Redekop, who was chairing that segment of Monday night’s meeting.

“That’s an irresponsible comment, Mr. Merlihan. You’re accusing us without naming us – that’s not acceptable.”

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

Total
0
Shares



Related Posts
Total
0
Share