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Council receives first look at proposed 2023 budget capped at modest cost of living increase

Budget 2023 icon

budget 2023 icon

Kawartha Lakes – At the Council Meeting of December 13, 2022, City staff presented an overview of the proposed 2023 Budget.

Ron Taylor, CAO, provided general comments about the budget noting, “This budget is aligned with planned increases of three percent, although this was no easy feat. Coming out of the pandemic, we are facing inflationary pressures and supply shortages across all sectors. We were at double-digit increases going in and have made difficult decisions to reduce the budget to what is presented. Self-reliance is a theme of this budget. Taking a strategic approach to building reserves has put us in a strong position. By spending within our means, we’re not reliant on one-time outside relief funding and we remain accountable to the public with steady, predictable and affordable budget increases.”

Carolyn Daynes, City Treasurer, provided an overview of commonly asked questions about the budget. Highlights of topics covered include:

Are we investing enough into our roads network?
Over the last four years, Council has invested in the reconstruction, rehabilitation or resurfacing of nearly 680 km of roads. In 2022, Council recognized that roads will require ongoing funding and put in place a 1.5 percent infrastructure levy for the next 10 years to ensure that roads are a top priority. This levy equates to approximately $35 per average household per year. The 2023 Capital Budget proposes $26 million for roads infrastructure.

Are we keeping taxes affordable?
Over the last term of Council (2018-2022), the cumulative general tax increase has been 14.90 percent, or 2.82 percent per year. The City provides a consistent level of service for over 200 services to residents for that investment.

Does Kawartha Lakes have too many staff?
A review of comparable sized municipalities in Ontario shows that Kawartha Lakes is lean with respect to staffing. Staff represent 37 percent of our total operating expenses. Comparators include City of Peterborough – 60 percent, Sudbury – 45 percent, Thunder Bay – 47 percent.

What is the City’s debt?
The City holds $140 million in debt to support roughly $4 billion in assets. In the context of a household, this would be the equivalent of a home valued at $700,000 having a mortgage of about $24,500.

Operating Budget
Of the total $325 million proposed budget, $236 million goes to the Operating Budget.

Key pressures on the Operating Budget include: increases to salaries and benefits, new positions to support service delivery to a growing community and legislated increases with respect to Housing Agencies. Inflation is driving the rising cost of fuel and most goods and services. The City Treasurer noted that this budget has been guided by the principle of building, maintaining and investing in reserves. The City aims to lessen its reliance on one-time relief funding, and conservatively forecast for limited increases in revenues and grants.

The Operating Budget is financed by $137 million of tax support. A breakdown on how that amount is invested is below.

Tax allocation to services chart

Capital Budget in 2023 begins to catch up from past deferrals
The Capital Budget was presented to Council by Adam Found, Manager of Asset Management. The proposed budget includes $57 million in projects, with the majority of work supporting roads. Many projects that were deferred during the pandemic have been scheduled for work in 2023 and beyond. Found noted that just prior to making the presentation, the Provincial government announced an approximate increase of 15 percent to the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) payment. The proposed 2023 Budget was created using the 2022 amount of $4.5 million; Kawartha Lakes will receive $5.2 million in 2023. Staff recommendations for allocating the additional funding will come to Council during the budget process.

Capital budget highlights

  • New and improved facilities, including a Paramedic headquarters and fleet centre, $5 million
  • Road rehabilitation and reconstruction, $26 million
  • Construction of a new cell at the Lindsay-Ops Landfill to ensure adequate landfilling capacity and related landfill projects, $6 million
  • Catch up on fleet and equipment backlog, particularly in Fire Services, $16 million

The Water-Wastewater Budget is user rate supported and rates remain stable

For the last several years, the costs to maintain the water and sewer infrastructure and services across  Kawartha Lakes has remained consistent. In keeping with the 10-year plan for water-wastewater services, it will continue to be funded exclusively by users of the systems and will increase by 3 percent per year. The total budget breaks out as: Water-Wastewater Capital $5.2 million; Water-Wastewater Operating $24.6 million.

The full budget presentation from December 13, 2022 can be viewed on the City’s YouTube channel.

Follow along with the 2023 Budget Schedule

Being the first budget of the new term of Council, the budget will be adopted in the new year after deliberations in January and February.

All meetings take place in City Hall, Council Chambers and are livestreamed on the City's YouTube channel. Read or download a copy of the Proposed Budget on our website www.kawarthalakes.ca/budget.

January 17 2023, 9am Department presentations
January 26 2023, 9am Department presentations and Agency and Board presentations
February 2 2023, 7pm Public Meeting – General presentation of budget, electronic format
February 14 2023, 9am Capital Budget Deliberations (resuming February 16 if required)
February 28 2023, 9am Operating, Special Projects and Water-wastewater Budget Deliberations (resuming March 2 if required)

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