Council approves 2022 budget
Tim Brody - Editor
Sioux Lookout Municipal Council has approved a 1.9 percent tax rate increase and approved the 2022 budget.
Council, at their February 16 regular council meeting, also authorizes the transfer of $180,629 from the Infrastructure Reserve to pay for additional Daycare costs; and Council authorized to replenish the Infrastructure Reserve in the amount of $45,157.25, per year, over four years, through taxation.
The budget includes a $1500 donation for the Cedar Bay Trail Collective to cover liability insurance and groomer insurance costs.
At a special council meeting on Feb. 3, Council also authorized and directed staff to submit an application for funding under the Ontario Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Grant program for the installation of CCTV cameras in the downtown core.
The Ontario CCTV Grant Program would fund 50 percent ($40,000) of the project’s eligible costs with the Municipality being responsible for the other 50 percent ($40,000) of the total cost, which would come out of the Policing Reserve.
The 2022 budget includes an Operating Budget of $28,672,718 and a Capital Budget of $15,738,870.
Municipal Treasurer Carly Collins had previously told The Bulletin that several factors impacted this year’s budget, “In addition to the loss of taxation revenue as a result of the Provincial direction to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) to freeze the property assessments at the 2020 level (which, had the rates not been frozen, they would have yielded approximately an addition of $435,000 in taxation revenue for 2022), the Municipality also saw increases in the following areas:
- Insurance - $41,000
- Kenora District Services Board - $25,000
- Hydro – anticipating 2% increase in hydro rates in 2022, which would equate to approximately $14,500 in additional costs.
- Other services’ increases due to the significant increase in inflation over the past year, as well as costs related to employment contracts for both unionized and non-unionized staff, totaling approximately $24,500.”
Asked last week about Council approving the 2022 budget, Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance shared, “I think council was obviously pleased with the budget that was presented by staff. At one point we were going to see the first draft in December, it was delayed a bit for various reasons, and that probably gave staff a bit more time to fine tune it and react to some of the provincial and other such changes and have more certainty in the budget.”
He added, “1.9 per cent increase, which I thought was very fair considering that the province has directed MPAC to hold assessments at their 2020 levels, so we saw no assessment growth increase, which normally we do.”
Lawrance said, “Staff did a great job and over the years I think staff have honed the way the budget is developed and presented.”
He said he felt this year’s budget process went smoothly, “for a very fair and necessary increase.”
Lawrance highlighted infrastructure projects slated to take place this year, “The one that we postponed last year, the Wellington turning circle (roundabout) and upgrades along that part of Wellington (at the intersection of First Avenue and Wellington Street) will go ahead. That was delayed because of the MTO project on the bypass. We didn’t want to have both entries into town under construction at the same time. I think Third Avenue and Front Street are going to go ahead this year, some upgrades there at the intersection, and Moosehorn Road, some upgrades to Moosehorn Road, and then engineering on the Hillcrest development… as well as some work on the Bigwood project across from the airport.”