New Tecumseth council is planning to pass the 2009 budget Monday night.
Currently the tax increase sits at 1.49 per cent. For the average home assessed at $255,159 that represents an increase of $27.14 annually. Because the town signed onto the OPP contract last year and it included an increase in funding for additional officers, 1.03 per cent of the increase can’t be reduced. That means the portion of the budget council can control is increasing .43 per cent.
Monday night, Coun. Dennis Egan proposed the town use a portion of the tax stabilization fund to pay for the controllable impact on residents this year. While Egan had the support of Coun. Jim Stone, the remainder of council was not in favour of depleting the stabilization fund.
Mayor Mike MacEachern said that the economic challenges are going to continue and cautioned against tapping into the stabilization fund.
Coun. Jamie Smith said if the town covered the .43 per cent, essentially they are spending their savings account. He said a slight increase in taxes is not unconscionable and thinks the budget as it is right now is reasonable.
There are some budget items that are still to be hashed out Monday. The most contentious so far has been the field house at the Mel Mitchell playing fields in Beeton.
When the field house project was proposed it had a $100,000 price tag, half coming from the town and half from fundraising and in-kind donations.
At a January budget meeting a decision on the field house was put off until February, when council could see designs. At that meeting the project cost was $200,000. When the designs were brought forward at a February budget meeting, a new cost estimate of $331,250 was attached to the two-phase project.
Several options for the field house project are going to be presented at the March 9 committee of the whole meeting, including a scaled back version of the project.
Depending upon which design council chooses, it could mean an increase in the budget.
Irrigation of the 14th Line sports fields is the other item up for discussion at the meeting.