Gordon/Barrie Island passes budget with small tax increase

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GORDON/BARRIE ISLAND—Residents of the municipality of Gordon/Barrie Island will see a small increase in their taxes this year, in large part to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) not having been able to carry out assessments in 2020, due to pandemic.

With the pandemic, “we had no new reassessments (on property values with new development) from MPAC over the last year because assessors were not able to get out into the field,” said Gordon/Barrie Island Reeve Lee Hayden after a recent council meeting. “Normally the new extra assessments takes care of most increases in downloaded costs on our municipality.”

“But now MPAC is a year behind on carrying out its assessments on new buildings and development,” said Reeve Hayden. With this the municipality has not garnered extra revenues in increased assessments.

“This means on our 2021 budget we have had to make up a shortfall of $28,000 on the municipal share of the taxes,” said Reeve Hayden. This has led to an increase of 2.5 percent on the tax rate. However, he pointed out most taxpayers won’t see that much of an increase because the education levy  rate has not increased. 

Carrie Lewis, clerk/CAO of Gordon/Barrie Island told the Recorder, for an average municipal taxpayer whose property has an assessment of $160,00 it will mean a $30 increase over last year.

Reeve Hayden noted, however, that while there has been a small increase 2021, “by the same token once assessment field work is carried out by MPAC it will mean a surplus and will help to correct the tax rate shortfall, for 2022.”

Within the municipal budget for this year, “is a major bridge project to be done on the fourth line,” said Reeve Hayden. “Funds have also been set aside, $250,000, for the purchase of a quality used grader. We have been able to put these items on the budget without having to take any funds out of our reserves. We had money last year that was put into  the working reserve that will make up these costs.”  He said the municipality also has the purchase of a new half ton truck in the budget, which was ordered in October 2020 (that has not been delivered). This purchase was also made with monies that were carried over from last year.

“We have a very healthy reserve,” added Reeve Hayden. “We don’t normally borrow money, in fact I don’t recall ever having to borrow money since I have been on council.”