Council approves 2023 Municipal Budget - Balancing An affordable tax rate while protecting service levels and investment in core assets
At the Monday, January 30, 2023 meeting, Council approved the 2023 Operating & Capital budgets, limiting the tax rate change on the municipal portion of property taxes to an affordable 2.7%, or $5.30 per month for the median assessed Collingwood household.
The 2023 Budget supports much-needed investments in affordable housing, Community Spaces (including the opening of the Awen’ Splash Pad), Moving towards a Memorandum of Understanding for the Grain Terminals, renewal of roads and infrastructure including work on 5th Street and the Minnesota Storm Sewer and more, while managing affordability by keeping property tax and user fee increases well below the rate of inflation.
Highlights of the 2023 Municipal Budget based on public input:
- Affordable Housing – Council has prioritized affordable housing by topping up the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund with up to $225,000 from the 2022 annual surplus.
- Economic Issues – Council will continue to provide the same level of Programs and Services.
- Community Spaces – Council continues to support investment in Community Spaces: Art Centre Feasibility Study ($60,000); investments into the Eddie Bush and Central Park Arenas ($194,500) as well as the Centennial Aquatics Centre ($100,000) and completion of the Splash Pad and a new park ($2.3M).
- Waterfront Master Plan – Council continues to support investment in the Revitalization of the Grain Terminals and Spit ($500,000).
- Asset Management Plan – Council recognizes the value in investing in our fundamental Town needs, including the renewal of our core assets by supporting the Asset Management Plan with ($412,000).
Inflation is running at all-time highs. The current Consumer Price Index (CPI) is at 6.5% and was 3.4% in 2021, which equates to nearly 10% over the last two years. Additionally, the Building Construction Price index was 15.6% for the 3rd Quarter of 2022 and was 11.6% in 2021, which equates to over 27% in the last two years. In comparison the Town’s tax rates between 2019 and 2022 have decreased by 2.17%. This means in 2022, that even with an increase on the assessment of the median home in 2019, the median household is paying only $6.66 more per year than four years ago.
"Many people are struggling in our community as the price of almost everything continues to rise. With inflation over 6%, we worked hard to keep the property tax rate increase affordable, while still ensuring that our Town is a wonderful place to live, work and play,” says Mayor Yvonne Hamlin.
Council and Staff thank all residents and stakeholders who participated in public meetings and provided feedback through the budget review process. The Budget is one of the most important matters your elected Council will decide each year, and your input is paramount to ensuring Council is aware of what is most important to residents and property owners in how their tax dollars are spent.
The focus for 2023 is to continue to strive towards the goals and objectives that align with the over-arching Community Based Strategic Plan, Continuous Improvements and Departmental Master Plans.
“Council and Staff also want to ensure we plan for our community’s future in a fiscally responsible way”, noted Treasurer, Monica Quinlan. “This includes planning for the future and caring for our assets in a manner that is responsible and cost effective.”
The 2023 operating budget is comprised of $66.7 million in operating expenses and $63.3 million in capital expenses, resulting in a change in the municipal portion of property taxes of 2.7% ($5.30 per month for a median assessed household or $63.51 annually). With a blended tax rate increase (including School Board and County Taxes) estimated to be 2.5%.
The Town conducted a public survey between August 12th and September 27th, 2022, to gather input from property owners and residents on how the Town should spend their tax dollars in 2023, which resulted in 341 responses.
In addition to the community survey, the Town held 6 Strategic Initiatives Committee meetings and 2 Coffee with Council meetings (1 virtual and 1 in-person) where community members were able to ask questions and provide feedback on the budget.
To learn more about the Budget Process and view financial information for the Town, please visit www.collingwood.ca/budget.