Lake of Bays residents will see the Township portion of their tax bill increase by an estimated $11.52 per $100,000 of assessed value on their property
The raise in the levy represents an estimated $405,000 increase in spending over last year’s budget, made up of both capital and operational increases. More than half of that, roughly $200,000, is being set aside for future capital projects.
“We have a big piece in there, we’re building three new major pieces of infrastructure over the next three years and so we have to put some of that cost on the tax roll,” said Lake of Bays Mayor Bob Young.
Next year we’ll be building a new garage in Dwight. Our main public works garage is 43 years old and showing signs of age and then the following year we will be renovating and mostly expanding the office building, which is a very, very tight space at the moment. And then the third year, so this’ll be 2018, we will rebuild the garage in the Baysville area, again, 43 years old. So, by the end of 2018 we will have basically upgraded all of our physical building infrastructure in the township. So it’s fairly ambitious but necessary. Lake of Bays Mayor Bob Young
The Township has also set aside funds to repair a bridge on Browns Brae Road and the reconditioning of Golf Course Road. Because those projects have not gone out to tender, Lake of Bays Treasurer Tom Gefucia said the budgeted amount for those projects are lumped in together under Public Works projects in the budget and not individually identified.
“We don’t release the budget for individual projects because we found that, going through the tender process to get bids, we have saved money by not releasing the budget numbers.” He said once the bids are submitted, the numbers are made public, The practice was put in place two years ago.
On the operating side of the municipality’s overall budget increase, which represents a 7.4 per cent tax hike, is the creation of an economic development department sometime in August of 2016 at an estimated $30,000. The Township will also see an increase of $57,491 in 2016 for the amount it pays for its fire service agreement with Huntsville.
“Basically, the agreement when it was signed in 2012 did not go up to the full extent. Huntsville extended Lake of Bays the courtesy of a kind of phase in, phase out approach… so effectively Lake of Bays underpaid for the first three years, then they overpay for the next three years and then it levels out in 2019,” said Gefucia, adding that the remainder of the levy hike represents overall cost of living increases as well as set increases for unionized employees.
Gefucia would not venture into the overall effect on the tax bill once the District of Muskoka and Education costs are accounted for. “We have no idea yet on District and Education so I can’t quote those,” he said.
The 2016 budget is expected to be posted on the Township’s website soon. Check the Township’s website here, for future updates.