Smiths Falls Budget To Receive Third And Final Reading
Following a moment of silence to honour the victims of the downed Ukrainian Passenger plane, Smiths Falls council, passed first and second reading of the town’s 2020 budget.
The final draft budget is layered with good news for homeowners in Smiths Falls. There will be no municipal tax increase in this year’s budget. The only increase will be the MPAC assessment increase of less than one percent.
So the average home assessed this year at $165,000 up from $163,500 (0.92 percent increase) would have equated to an additional $24.88 cent on the annual tax bill. However, because the education portion of municipal taxes has decreased slightly, that average homeowner will only see a $14 increase in their annual tax bill.
“Overall, we get a lot of capital work done, about $16 million in capital work being completed this year and really a very modest less than 1 percent increase to the average tax payer in town,” Mayor Shawn Pankow told Lake 88.
Residents will see a small cost of living increase in the water and wastewater bills of 1.9 percent, which will equate to an additional $3.25 per bi-monthly billing.
The $16 million in capital project include Beckwith Street reconstruction, Lombard/Abbot Street intersection, park and waterfront improvements, play structures, further developing active transportation networks, airport runway improvements as well as numerous improvements at the water and wastewater plant. The town has also committed more funds to the Community Improvement Program.
“We have $60,000 in the program, and we encourage businesses to apply for these funds to improve our downtown,” said Councillor Lorraine Allen.
A number of Municipal Grant Requests have also been approved for a variety of events and groups including Rideau Paddlefest, Rideau Lakes Amateur Radio Club (who form part of the town’s emergency response team) REAL, Furry Tales Animal Rescue, Smiths Falls Food Advocacy Group, The Horticultural Society, the Smiths Falls Gordon Pipe Band, the Railway Museum, and Lanark Transportation to name a few.
“We are drawing down [from reserves] more that we’re putting in this year, but we needed to balance any tax increase against what residents could afford,” said Pankow.
The budget will receive third and final reading on January 27.
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