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Pandemic impacting 2020 and 2021 Kawartha Lakes’ budgets

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At their meeting of the whole, senior staff shared with council the largely negative impact of the COVID pandemic on both the 2020 and 2021 budget.

While some of the numbers presented rely on Kawartha Lakes remaining at Stage 3 in the province’s re-opening plan, it is clear that projects from 2020 that have been rolled over into 2021 will impact the city’s ability to take on many new capital projects in the upcoming budget year.

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Unpaid property taxes in city lower than provincial average, audit shows

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In 2019 the city collected a little over $139 million in taxation from the citizens of Kawartha Lakes, with $5.57 remaining in unpaid taxes from 2019 currently sitting on the city’s books.

“The ratio of taxes not paid is 4.01 per cent,” Carolyn Daynes, the treasurer for Kawartha Lakes, told council at their September meeting.

“And any delinquency under 10 per cent is deemed okay by the province. The average of uncollected taxes across the province sits at 5.6 per cent so the city is generally doing a good job.”

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Elmslie believes province, feds will start downloading services onto municipalities

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At a recent council meeting Councillor Doug Elmslie expressed worry that the province and federal government will soon start downloading more responsibilities on the backs of municipalities.

He recommended that “all surpluses be put in reserve for a rainy day because I fully expect that the feds and the province are going to start downloading services because of the debt loads they are carrying.”

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Taxes to increase 3.5 per cent under pressure from provincial cuts, winter control costs

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Winter control costs have gone up for the City.

At the Special Council meeting on December 3, Council approved the 2020 Operating Budget. There will be a 3.5% increase to the tax levy, slightly below the forecasted increase in the long term financial plan.

Council received a presentation from Jennifer Stover, Director of Corporate Services. Stover noted that the Operating Budget is $205 million of a total municipal budget of $305 million. The Capital, Water and Wastewater and Special Project Budgets were adopted by Council on November 26 totalling $100 million.

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Council to prioritize capital projects, remain ‘nimble’ in wake of provincial changes

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Council met on September 17 and 18 to hear from staff across all departments about the driving forces shaping the 2020 budget. The main themes will be prioritizing the timing of capital projects and remaining resilient in the wake of known and potential funding cuts and reorganization of service delivery by the province.

Ron Taylor, CAO, summed up the discussions by noting, “We have a 2020 capital budget that is very ambitious at almost $50 million. It includes a number of new and significant projects that invest in our roads, downtowns and parks. Council has acknowledged the need to prioritize projects in light of many unknowns at the provincial level. The timing of capital projects will be critical to ensure we stay on course with our financial plan in order to keep services affordable for residents.”

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City loses $620,000 for licensed childcare in PC cuts; more kids for less staff expected

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More than $620,000 in funding has been lost to the City of Kawartha Lakes for licensed childcare spaces due to cuts from the provincial PC government.

Within that pot, nearly $258,000 was for general allocation funding. This money is used for child care fee subsidies for low-income families and general operating costs.

The remaining amount, more than $360,000 is being eliminated through cost sharing changes. In what was once a 100 per cent boost from the Province, it is now a forced 80-20 cost-sharing agreement between Province and Municipality. This includes reductions in the administration allowances (from 10 per cent down to 5 per cent).

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