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Budget passes with 5.57% tax increase

LAURENTIAN VALLEY -Council approved a 5.57 per cent tax increase, although some councillors did so reluctantly.

The increase amounts to an additional $18.10 on $108,930 worth of assessment for the municipal portion of the tax bill. With increases to the county levy, education tax, and garbage collection, residents will be paying $48.26 more in 2010 or $69.39 more for those residents on sewer.

Following the June 3 budget meeting, council directed deputy chief administrative officer Bruce Lloyd to find areas to reduce the proposed increase of 9.5 per cent. On Tuesday night, he presented a number of options to council from the highest increase at 6.17 per cent, which he recommended, to the lowest at 4.08 per cent.

Members of council could not live with the highest increase and some still had difficulty with the 5.57 per cent because with average assessments in Laurentian Valley around $155,000, ratepayers could be facing increases close to $100.

One of the greatest impacts on the bottom line in the 2010 budget is the loss of $250,000 in provincial funding through the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund. The reduction alone means a 9.7 per cent increase in the amount of dollars to be raised in taxation, Mr. Lloyd previously explained.

With the approved budget of $2.7 million, the township must raise approximately $146,000 more in taxes than it did in 2009.

Although the municipality has typically been able to avoid drastic tax increases, Mayor Jack Wilson hopes taxpayers will understand this increase was necessary to offset the cut in provincial funding, a factor that was out of its control.

"We've also had our share of growth in the township, but it still wasn't enough to cover what we lost from the province," he said at the conclusion of the budget meeting.

The mayor is also pleased council opted not to dip into the reserves, instead adding $45,000, bringing the total in reserves to approximately $3.5 million, which is still below the level recommended by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

e budget is $671,000 worth of capital works. Projects slated for completion in 2010 are a second lift of asphalt on Stafford Third Line from Whitewater Road to the French Hill; pulverizing, adding gravel, grading and paving B-Line Road from Indian River to Wagners, plus the relining of a culvert outside of the project because it could fail; pulverizing, adding gravel, grading and paving Lubitz Road between Doran Road and the gravel section; creating an extra wide asphalt surface for a fire route on Lorne Street from Bruham Avenue to the fire hall; and pulverizing, adding gravel, grading and paving Krause Street.

Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer reporter

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