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LOB proposes 9.06% tax increase
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LOB proposes 9.06% tax increase

Posted: 2024-02-05 07:37:05 By: thebay

Lake of Bays Council agreed to a 9.06 percent tax rate increase in a special meeting, during their two-day budget review between January 31 to February 1, 2024.

The Township’s Director of Finance/Treasurer, Patricia Allen, explained that this puts a $500,000 property at an increase of $87.95 per year, and results in the Township being the second lowest increase in Muskoka.

She advised that Bracebridge has a 6.8 percent increase, Huntsville 10.68 percent, Muskoka Lakes 14.3 percent, Gravenhurst 2.99 percent (the lowest), Georgian Bay 9.9 percent, and the District at 4.34 percent.

She also advised Council that their total revenue of $12,819,488 was $3,217,477 less than the Township’s initial budgeted Operating and Capital Expenses of $16,036,965.

She said, “The number we’re zeroing in on is the short fall of $3,217.477. That is the excess expenses over revenue. So, that’s the shortfall we must bring to zero.”

After much debate to ensure they were budgeting enough funds for future projects, such as the library expansion, which they increased by $400,000, and deliberating cuts, Council agreed to make up for the remaining $1,730,569 shortfall from Reserves to strike a balance between revenue and expenses, resulting in $6.1 million remaining in Reserves.

Mayor, Terry Glover, advised they had two options for balancing the budget. He said, “We can either pull from reserves or cut more projects.”

Another area that Council expressed concern about and will address in the future is development charges, which is something they currently don’t implement.

CAO, Bryan Brown, advised, “We’re one of the few municipalities in all of Ontario that doesn’t have development charges. If you look at the last three years that we haven’t had any, it’s probably cost us well over a million dollars.”

He explained that that revenue that can be generated from development charges can contribute to the growth of the community. For example, more housing creates a demand for more Township services, such as from the fire department, parks, trails, and so on.

Councillor, Nancy Tapley, said, “We have a lot of projects that we’re going to have to fund and it’s one way to fund them.”

Mayor, Terry Glover, said, he will be attending an education session about development charges held at the District next week.

Council also agreed that they need to exert more initiatives towards greater exposure for the Township.

Glover suggested they consider ways to attract more people to the Township. He said, “It’s important that we start to get up on the map.”

Council will reconvene February 13th to approve the modified edition of the 2024 Draft Budget.

For more information about the budget, visit their website at lakeofbays.on.ca.