Almost half the money in the capital budget assigned to ‘roads and related’

By Jamie Morris

It's all about the roads in this budget.

Over half of the proposed operating budget for the City of Kawartha Lakes is directed to public works and emergency services (29 per cent for each) and another 10 per cent goes to community services. However, almost half – 49 per cent — of the capital budget is to be assigned to “roads and related.”

Council’s first major task will be setting the 2019 budget. The process will culminate in approval of a finalized 2019 operating budget on February 20.

Today the first step for council was taken: Director of Corporate Services Jennifer Stover delivered a Powerpoint “primer” to prepare councillors for their slog through the 218 page Budget and Business Plan.

Before walking councillors through the plan itself, Stover provided info on the long-range financial plan and how the 2019 plan fits in, and looked at projected 2019 reserve balances.

As a refresher she also explained some basic concepts, in particular “tax levy increase” and “tax rate increase.” (If, like the narrator of Leacock’s “My Financial Career,” you find money matters bewildering, here’s the explanation: The tax levy increase is the increase in the total amount of taxes that the City needs to collect from one budget year to the next and includes assessment growth throughout 2018 and the amount required to balance the proposed 2019 budget. The tax rate increase is the amount an individual property owner pays year over year and is dependent on the assessed value of their property, relative to the average, the tax class of the property, property location and any improvements.)

Three other takeaways from the presentation:

  1. Steady as she goes. The 2019 proposed budget follows the guiding framework set out by the City’s 10-Year Financial Plan – 2018-2027, endorsed by the previous council. No big surprises.
  2. Some key numbers:

The total proposed 2019 budget is $271.9M with $200.8 million going to operations (the on-going expenditures required to support services — a significant portion going to wages).

The 2018 tax levy proposed increase is 3.25 per cent (more than last year’s, but significantly less than the 8 per cent of 2016).

3. The capital budget (expenditures that are one time in nature including the construction of new infrastructure and the repair and replacement of existing assets) comes to $48.5 million.

Some capital projects being funded:

  • Bobcaygeon Beach Park
  • Logie Park
  • Mariposa Fire Station
  • Reconstruction of Russell & Peel Streets
  • Gravel rehabilitation program (year 2)
  • Lindsay-Ops Landfill Cell 4/5
  • South Fleet Paramedic Centre design

A number of other projects have been designated “decision units.” Council will discuss and vote on whether each will be funded.

Next Steps

Councillors have until January 11 to submit questions and extractions for the capital and water/ wastewater proposed budget. Both questions and answers will be posted on the City website.

On January 23 (spilling over to the 24th if necessary) council will meet to deliberate on capital and water/wastewater budgets. This meeting is an opportunity for public input.

Councillors will then have until February 1 to submit questions on the operating budget and on February 13 there will be “department overviews” (this will be another opportunity for public input).

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