Posted on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 1:55 p.m.
Counties council keeps chopping at budget
It’s dropped a couple of percentage points and the mayors on counties council hope to make the tax rate hike for next year’s budget even lower.
Julie Ménard-Brault, director of finance for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR), presented counties council with a single-sheet summary Wednesday of revisions to the 2018 preliminary budget report.
The suggested reductions would cut $734,000 from the expense side of the budget, bringing it down from about $43 million to $42.2 million instead. It also reduces the original 5.4 per cent tax rate increase needed for the first draft of the budget to 3.6 per cent.
“I find it (tax rate increase) is still too high,” said Mayor Guy Desjardins of Clarence-Rockland. “It should go down more. I think there should still be more cuts.”
Several members of counties council agreed with a suggestion to bring the rate down to 2.5 per cent. Mayors Pierre Leroux of Russell Township and Fernand Dicaire of Alfred-Plantagenet Township suggested that a 3.6 per cent could still be acceptable to allow the counties to start dealing with both current and future asset management needs after several past years of zero-per cent budget increases.
A 3.6 per cent tax rate increase would translate to $36 moree for the average homeowner on his or her counties property tax bill. For now counties council just needs to accept the revisions and continue with its 2018 budget review schedule.
The draft budget comes back during counties’ committee of the whole session in early November when UCPR administration gets directions for the final 2018 budget plan. That comes up before council for approval at the end of November.