Gore Bay town council passes budget with an increase of three percent

GORE BAY – Gore Bay town council has passed its 2019 budget that will see a three percent increase in the actual municipal residential tax rate over 2018.

“I think it’s a fair budget,” stated Dan Osborne, Gore Bay mayor after council passed the budget at a meeting May 13. “We managed to keep our tax rate low. And, with all the cutbacks in funding being taken away, and downloading from the province every year, it is getting more difficult. We didn’t have to lower our level of service to local residents, but if we don’t see an increase in the property assessment in the future it may come to that.” 

Town Clerk Annette Clarke outlined some of the highlights from this year’s budget. “In terms of revenues, we received $239,200 in a one time unconditional grant,” which offsets office software, computers etc. by $10,500. “The contribution to our (town) reserve is $228,700.” She pointed out a $10,000 cannabis legislation grant from the province was offset by expenditures. 

A $38,412 Main Street Revitalization grant carried over from 2018 offsets the mural expenditure and part of the total $333,267 budget. The remainder of which is shown as revenue from a local donor, who has not confirmed this cost will be covered, council was told. 

The town received a Hydro One Lighting Grant (for the arena) of $6,000 to offset expenditures of approximately $11,500, said Ms. Clarke. She noted the budget includes a donation to the town for the arena of $2,000 from the township of Burpee and Mills. 

The Town received a donation of $755,696 from a local donator for the fitness centre, tennis courts and public washroom. As well, a contribution in the form of a town reserve of $149,867.54 was used to offset the snow plow expense. This includes $50,000 being taken out of the roads reserve and $99,867.54 from the town’s general working reserve that has to be paid back. Thirty thousand dollars will be picked up by the 2019 municipal levy.

On the expenditure side, Ms. Clarke highlighted that in this year’s budget, work was done on the ‘turkey plant’ with $8,800 being spent, including repairs of $3,800 and electrical and doors in the amount of $5,000. The arena capital includes upgrades in lighting in the amount of $11,786; plant repair-brine leak repair in the amount of $6,000 and a compressor overall in the amount of $8,843. As well $200,000 was spent on the waterfront project for engineering.

“We also have $38,412 from the downtown revitalization grant to carry on work to revamp the area in front of the community hall (stonework, tables, more benches, flowers etc),” Ms. Clarke pointed out. 

There is funding in the budget for new public washrooms to be constructed near the splash pad at the recreation park and funding in place for the tennis courts.

Other highlights from the budget include the New Street reconstruction (through an Ontario Community Improvement Fund/temporary loan) of $374,351; crack sealing and line painting, work to be done on the sidewalks, medical centre interior maintenance, plow/dump truck/sander (grant/taxation) $179,867; marina expansion, engineering (donation) $200,000; downtown revitalization (grant) $38,412.

Ms. Clarke outlined what expenditures had been proposed but are not included in this year’s budget. “There was a proposal to hire a bylaw officer but this ($8,480) is now out of the budget.” She explained that other cuts include arena doors/fans, new bridges/culverts, a community hall floor scrubber and water street paving. All of these items will be deferred this year and reconsidered for the 2020 budget. 

The 2019 total budget is $4,131,369, compared to the 2018 total budget of $3,876,715, which equals to a difference in spending of $254,654, a percentage increase of 6.57 percent. 

The amount levied to the taxpayer is the different between budgeted revenues and expenditures for the year. This levy was arrived at by making changes totaling $472,956 from the original proposed budget of $1,526,902. This represents a 4.91 levy increase over 2018, council was told. “This represents a three percent increase in the actual municipal residential tax rate over 2018,” said Ms. Clarke.

The actual 2019 taxation levy for 2019 is $1,105,700, compared to $1,053,946 in 2018, a two percent increase. 

Ms. Clarke noted as well in looking at the 2019 millrate, “on a $100,000 assessment, residents will be looking at an increase of $38.20.”

It was also pointed out that Gore Bay has experienced a two percent increase in assessment applied by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), which affects the overall tax rate. Each taxpayer will be affected differently depending on the overall MPAC assessment increase/decrease applied to their property.

The non-discretionary costs that the town has to provide a share of funds to represents approximately 35 percent of the town’s operating budget. The total property tax bill includes municipal operating and capital costs (including library and museum requisitions), police costs, education levy, Manitoulin-Sudbury District Social Services Administration Board costs, Manitoulin Centennial Manor costs, and Manitoulin Planning Board.