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Kawartha Lakes adopts 2023 Budgets; meets community needs while balancing taxpayer affordability

Budget 2023 icon

budget 2023 iconKawartha Lakes –  At the Special Council meeting of February 28, 2023, Council deliberated and adopted the remaining 2023 Budgets, all totaling $326 million, in keeping with forecasted increases of a 3 percent general tax levy increase and a 1.5 percent dedicated infrastructure levy used exclusively for roads and capital projects. This represents an estimated $32 tax increase per $100,000 of assessed value on residential properties.

Mayor Elmslie commented on the budget:

“In a year when we’re seeing substantial increases across the board for goods and services ranging from construction contracts to equipment and fuel, I’m extremely pleased that we were able to hold the line at 3 percent. There were decisions we had to make to keep the tax increases below the cost of living, and I thank staff and our various boards and committees for bringing in their requests with the taxpayer in mind. It is not an easy financial climate for anyone. We will look to future budgets to catch up on projects that can wait until interest rates are lower and we have the ability to finance them responsibly.

Meantime, this year we have a number of exciting projects on the go to benefit the community, from the design of a new Paramedic Headquarters to the finishing touches on the downtown Omemee project. We’re investing in our local parks, arenas and community centres, including a major renovation to the Coboconk Wharf. We’re readying for the growth boom we’re seeing take place, while looking after today’s needs. As always, we’re investing heavily into our roads with almost $27 million going to roads capital projects. I’d like to thank our new Council for their thoughtful study of the complexities of the budget and for working together to pass what I define as a lean budget.”

Operating Budget supports more than 200 services

Carolyn Daynes, City Treasurer, noted that the base budget is very close to the 2022 budget. With inflation costs exceeding 7 percent, staff were diligent in bringing budgets down to the 3 percent mark. Daynes pointed out two contributing factors to balancing the budget:

“Enhanced interest income from investment of funds has resulted in an increase in the 2023 budget of over $3 million in revenue. With the prime interest rate increasing, those investments are generating significantly better returns. Growth in assessment is generating an additional $2 million in revenue.”

With regard to staffing, which makes up nearly a third of the total operating budget, Deputy Mayor Richardson stated, “We need to continue to invest in staff to retain and attract talent. This is what will allow us to move forward to meet the growth and ensure we have a stable workforce to carry out City services.”

Council commitments ensure our local hospital and community groups have the capacity to continue beneficial work to support the economy

The proposed budget was supplemented with funds from the anticipated 2022 operating budget surplus:

An additional $1 million contribution to the Ross Memorial Hospital to support its active capital campaign.

Council committed to establishing a grant fund to support local arts and cultural organizations for their operating requirements. In addition to that fund, a one-time $200,000 fund will be established to support community groups and will be modeled after successful pandemic recovery funding programs implemented in past years. The options and recommendations for both funding programs will be provided later this year.

Funding was also approved for the Kawartha Lakes Museum and Archives, Kawartha Lakes Art Gallery, Chambers of Commerce and the Lindsay Downtown Business Improvement Association.

Water-wastewater Budget
The Capital and Operating portions of the Water-wastewater Budget was adopted at a total budget of $29 million. This budget ensures the safe and effective operation and capital needs of 21 water and 6 sewer treatment systems across the municipality. The Budget includes a 3 percent increase in user rates in keeping with the Long-Term Financial Plan and Water and Wastewater Rate Study. The municipality has approximately 13,000 water and sewer users that finance the entire Water-wastewater Budget. The new Water Meter Replacement project will roll out this year, providing users with a no-cost, mandatory upgrade to their meter which enables wifi data transfer.

Special Projects Budget
This $2 million budget includes a variety of projects that are one-time in nature and span multiple budget years. Many of the projects are studies and plans such as the Municipal Airport Business plan, Archeological Master Plan, Part Two of the Cultural Centre Feasibility Study and the Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan. Other projects involve agencies and boards, such as the Flood Plain Mapping that continues through Kawartha Conservation and a Next Generation 911 system led by Kawartha Lakes Police Service.

The Capital Budget was adopted at the February 14, 2023 meeting. Read more about the $57.7 million Capital Budget.

For all Budget details and background, visit our Budget Page at

Image: How tax dollars are invested
Image: Breakdown of City Budgets

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Chart showing City's 4 Budgets in total dollars

Chart showing $136 million taxes across categories

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