The District of Muskoka is proposing a property tax increase of 2.27 per cent—or 3.77 per cent before being offset by an increase in assessment growth across Muskoka of about 1.49 per cent.
Assessment growth represents all new builds or additions and equates to about $415,780,041, according to Suzanne Olimer, District commissioner of finance and corporate services.
The proposed tax-supported budget was presented at a District committee of the whole meeting held remotely on February 4.
The increase, if approved by District council at its February 22 meeting, would mean that a residential property assessed at $300,000 would pay about $19.78 per year more, or $892.75, for the District portion of the property tax.
For the commercial/industrial property class, the rate represents an annual increase of about $7.30 per $100,000 of assessed value, or $327.37, for the District portion of the property tax.
The 3.77 per cent tax increase has been divided between increases to the base budget, contributions to capital reserves, increases due to service level changes, and increases to insurance premiums. You can see the breakdown in the chart below:
- Although staff included additional inflationary funding in the budget guideline, the draft budget forecasts this increase at just under $233,000 (including the impact of reduced grant funding) which represents an increase to the levy guideline (of 3.5 per cent).
- Contribution to the Local Share Hospital Reserve of $354,000, which accounts for approximately 0.44 per cent of the increase to the tax levy.
- The cost to fund community and affordable housing repairs and maintenance for both the District stock and non-profit providers has been increasing at an average of five per cent per year over the last 10 years due to the age of the community housing stock and the increased number of affordable housing units.
- Funding reductions for childcare were anticipated within the budget guidelines however grant reductions exceeded projections and are resulting in a net levy increase of 0.06 per cent.
- The 2022 draft tax-supported budget sets aside one-time transitional funding from capital working reserves of about $298,000 for Fairvern as it is transferred to the District on a recommended date of June 30, 2022 and $173,210 in preliminary operating funds.
- Personnel costs have gone up to $45.2 million from $42.0 million last year and include negotiated wage settlements and benefit costs of $1.6 million. The sum also includes contracted increases for unionized staff as well as an estimate for increases related to ratification of a new contract with OPSEU representing paramedic staff in 2022. It also includes approved increases for non-union staff as well as annualized costs of $48,319 for positions approved by council in 2021. And proposed level changes for 2022 represent an increase in personnel costs of $1,601,184. Olimer noted in her report that, “When comparing the District’s personnel costs as a percentage of total expenditures from the annual Financial Information Returns (FIRs) for eight other upper-tier municipalities, the District’s percentage of personnel costs is well below the other municipalities (estimated at 29 per cent for the District compared to an average of 42 per cent for the other municipalities in 2020).”
- Contributions to the roads reserve to finance construction and rehabilitation of Muskoka infrastructure and ongoing road and locks maintenance costs account for 36.4 per cent (of $30.6 million) of the District’s net tax-supported levy. Increases within those two areas of the budget account for just over $1,169,200 or 38.3 per cent of the net levy increase in 2022. “The majority of this increase is due to an increase in the Roads Reserve Contribution of $942,211, in line with the asset management plan guideline. It should be noted that the vast majority of Roads Maintenance division costs are contracted to the Area Municipalities or various contractors for both roads maintenance and construction.”
You can find the full District tax-supported budget here (pdf).
Final adoption of the 2022 District tax-supported budget is scheduled for February 22, 2022. Members of the public who wish to provide comments to District council about the budget can email the District clerk at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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