Port Hope council approves 6.9 per cent tax hike in 2024 municipal budget

Taxpayers in the Municipality of Port Hope will face a 6.9 per cent increase on their property tax bill in the new year after council approved the 2024 budget earlier this week.

port hope council approves 6.9 per cent tax hike in 2024 municipal budget

At the Dec. 5 meeting, councillors unanimously voted in favour of the 2024 budget, which included an amendment to reduce the levy impact to taxpayers just under seven per cent — an estimated $305 to the property tax bill for a typical homeowner.

It will translate into a municipal levy of $28 million — about 44 per cent of the overall $63-million budget.

“This adjustment (6.9 per cent) reflects a careful consideration of residents’ concerns and a commitment to striking a balance between addressing financial challenges and respecting the community’s economic constraints,” the municipality stated.

The municipal budget includes $16.6 million in capital projects such as the Walton Street reconstruction in downtown Port Hope, the rural roads resurfacing program, recreation facility maintenance, municipal fleet replacements and upgrades to Kings Field, new playground equipment at Hewson and Rapley parks.

“Budget development is an intricate process and a delicate balance to address the public service needs of residents and guide decisions on municipal infrastructure,” stated Mayor Olena Hankivsky. “The challenge lies in delivering a broad spectrum of services while facing significant inflationary pressures, climate change impacts, soaring interest rates, slow community growth, and limitations in revenue generation.

“Additionally, we have attentively listened to the concerns voiced by our residents, recognizing the prevailing conditions in our community. It is evident that our residents grapple with challenges such as housing and food insecurity, with many navigating life on a fixed income. These pressing concerns significantly influence our decision-making process.”

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The budget includes $4.2 million in strategic community initiatives, including economic development strategic plan implementation, community improvement plan investment, tree planting and maintenance, and community safety.

Other focuses include climate resiliency initiatives including flood plain mapping and a sub-watershed study. Funding will also support housing initiatives and facility needs for the “growing and changing community,” the municipality states.

The municipality says the budget aimed to focus on “previous underinvestment” in infrastructure while balanced escalating costs for materials, personnel, fuel and equipment.

“In this environment, our commitment remains steadfast to constructing a budget that not only addresses the immediate needs of our community but also contributes to our long-term financial planning,” said Hankivsky. “This budget is a testament to our dedication to fulfilling infrastructure requirements, maintaining services, and preparing for the future. We affirm our commitment to making fiscally responsible decisions that benefit our community as we navigate the complexities of budgetary considerations.”

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