A special evening Council meeting was held on January 26 to provide the public with an overview of the 2021 budget process and the considerations facing Council as the budget is finalized in the coming weeks.
Residents were invited to ask questions on the Jump In, Kawartha Lakes website or to make a deputation at the meeting. More than 300 people have visited the site to learn more and questions were responded to by Jennifer Stover, Director of Corporate Services. Stover’s presentation to Council included answers to some of those questions by explaining what taxes are spent on, where budget dollars come from aside from taxes and the impact of the pandemic.
For a full list of the Q and A, or to ask your question, visit the website any time before the budget wraps up on February 16.
Council applies 2019 surplus to spur economic recovery
The 2019 budget resulted in a $3 million surplus. To date, Council has approved the use of the funds for the actions outlined by the Economic Recovery Task Force including:
Council approved two funding frameworks at the January 28 meeting that utilizes $220,000 from the surplus to further support the community. Approximately $800,000 is available for other pandemic recovery initiatives.
Provincial funding helps reduce pandemic effect on the budget
Approximately $5.8 million in pandemic relief has been received from upper levels of government to cover all pandemic related costs or lost revenue for 2020 and 2021. To date, already $5 million in costs have been incurred. Additional funding was announced January 27 for Long Term Care homes, with $121,000 going to Victoria Manor for enhanced prevention and containment measures. To date there have been no positive resident cases at Victoria Manor.
Capital Budget moving forward with new projects and carryover of 2020 projects
The Capital Budget approved in December includes $30 million of new investment into municipal assets. A focus on roads continues, with 122 kilometres of road reconstruction or resurfacing scheduled. To enhance downtowns and boost the economy, Lindsay reconstruction will continue and Fenelon Falls will begin a new downtown reconstruction project. Bobcaygeon Beach Park is undergoing the bulk of the project this year, which will result in a destination to serve all residents and attract visitors. Read more on the Major Projects section of the website. www.kawarthalakes.ca/majorprojects
The proposed Operating Budget of
$210.7 million is funded by taxes of $125.2 million, with the remainder coming from grants ($53.7 million), user fees ($26.7 million), investments and reserves ($5.1 million).
More than half of the total operating budget is invested in municipal staffing to deliver over 200 services, and external agencies and partners such as Police Services, Conservation Authorities, HKPR District Health Unit and the Public Library.
Increases to the budget are driven by salaries and benefits ($2.1 million), Waste Management ($1.5 million), Victoria Manor ($800,000), Winter Control ($500,000) and the HKPR Health Unit ($400,00). These increases equate to a total budgeted tax levy increase of 3.84%. Council and Staff will work together to reduce the tax levy increase to be in line with affordability given the challenges facing the community.
“We fully appreciate the need to deliver a budget that is affordable to residents, especially in the year that lies ahead. We are confident that together with Council we can find ways to continue delivering the services residents need while keeping increases manageable,” commented Stover.
Special Council Meeting - Agency & Board Presentations, Department Presentations
February 2 at 9am
Boards and agencies will present their 2021 budget requests to Council. In addition, the municipality’s departments will present an overview of their roles, responsibilities, goals and accomplishments to Council. There will be no deliberations at this time.
Special Council Meeting - Budget Deliberations
February 16 at 1pm
Council will discuss the 2021 Operating Budget requests, the Water and Wastewater Budget and the Special Projects Budget in more detail. Staff will be available to answer any questions. Council will be deliberating the 2021 Budget at this meeting.
Any member of the public (or group) who would like to speak to Council about a matter that impacts the 2021 Budget can do so in one of three ways:
For more information about the 2021 Budget, visit www.kawarthalakes.ca/budget