LAKE OF BAYS – With a small audience present, Lake of Bays councillors approved a 4.8 per cent tax increase on Saturday, Feb. 2, during a special council meeting meant to give residents a chance to ask questions about the proposed 2013 budget.
Treasurer Tom Gefucia gave an overview of the budget and a summary of the changes from last year’s budget, along with the various drafts of the 2013 budget, which led to a 4.8 per cent increase versus the 3.4 per cent presented in the first draft.
Of the seven residents in attendance, Frasier Govan, the director for the Lake of Bays Association, was the only one who wanted to make a formal comment.
“Given the constraints of where you started from I commend staff and council for coming up with a reasonable budget,” he said.
Mayor Bob Young said council was also pleased with staff’s effort and he felt comfortable proceeding with the budget as was presented.
The main reasons for the tax hike are wage increases, up a total of just over $40,000 from 2012, and necessary capital expenditures for various repairs in the township as well as new equipment, which called for over $1 million of the budget alone.
The largest single capital expense will be the replacement of the Camp Lake culvert at $511,000.
Other causes for the increase are due to new initiatives such as economic development, a winter maintenance road grant, financial support to the chamber of commerce and Huntsville Arts Society, brushing and firefighter training.
Gefucia said outside contributing factors include a slight decrease in property assessments by MPAC, the District of Muskoka, which is looking at a one per cent increase. He also said that the education cost to the municipality is going down by 4.1 per cent, thereby decreasing the burden on the township.