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The 2017 Northumberland County budget will be presented to County Council at their meeting next Wednesday.  Approval is expected on January 25, 2017. The County has adopted a long range financial plan so that the levy (tax charged) is consistent each year. This is done by using reserves to equalize expenditures each year, (operational plus Capital), while still ensuring there is enough money to fix the roads and bridges needing to be replaced each year.  The target for this total levy is an annual increase of 2% which is Canada’s targeted inflation rate. But major projects like the Golden Plough Lodge and the Trent River crossing in Campbellford (see list below) require additional funds, So starting in 2016, a dedicated infrastructure levy of 0.3% has been added.  The budget requested for 2017 is 1.9% (base) plus 0.3% for a total County levy increase of 2.2%.  This is less than the targeted 2.3%.

In addition to income from the levy (that is, from county taxes), the county also gets revenue from grants and subsidies (Federal and Provincial e.g. Gas tax, Golden Plough subsidy - 35% of total) and “other” (basically user fees - 16% of total).

Of the 2017 expenditures, 82% is operating budget, 16% is capital and 2% is debt repayment.

Department Allocations

county dept allocationsA chart showing department allocations from the levy (that is, from taxes) is at right – Note: GPL means “Golden Plough Lodge”:

Key capital projects & purchases in 2017 include:

  • Roads and bridge work
  • Cell development at Brighton landfill
  • Equipment replacement in Transportation, Waste & Paramedics (snow plows, trucks, ambulances)
  • Social Housing and corporate building upgrades and equipment replacement
  • Implementation of HR recruitment and performance review software
  • Website redesign
  • Roseneath Emergency Services Base

The full report has a long description of why an extra infrastructure levy is needed but it's basically because the following projects are required over the next 50-60 years:

Asset Type Replacement
Cost (millions)
Roads $723
Bridges (Trent River bridge in 2025) $125
MRF Equipment $4.5
Facilities $82
Housing $40
GPL Building (2021) $51
Total $1,026

In order to manage these needs effectively, approximately $27.4M should be spent annually to replace and maintain assets. The current long term plan provides for an annual asset investment of about $21.9M on average over the next 10 years.  Yes, there is a shortfall of $5.5M/year and there is no plan yet to fix that. 

If you pay taxes in Cobourg, the proportion of taxes in 2016 were:

Municipal 55.8%
County 31.8%
Education 12.5%

The proportion in 2017 should be about the same.

Download the full county report here.

 Addendum - December 12, 2016

A new countywide taxpayers group formed this fall in Northumberland announced today that it will be making its first delegation to County Council at the County Council meeting on December 14.

The Northumberland Taxpayers Coalition (NTC) is comprised of The Port Hope Ratepayers Association, the Cobourg Taxpayers Association, The Cramahe Community Association and the Citizens Council for Hamilton Township.

At the County Council meeting, the NTC will be making their first presentation to them.

The NTC will outline to the mayors of the seven Northumberland municipalities the group's recommendations on how to make the budget process more transparent, efficient and cost effective.

Download their presentation here.

 

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