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Kawartha Lakes adopts 2024 Capital Budget; building for a sustainable future

Road being paved, words '2024 Capital Budget Adopted'

Road being paved, stamp showing 'adopted' for the 2024 Capital BudgetKawartha Lakes – The City of Kawartha Lakes is proud to unveil its 2024 Capital Budget, a strategic roadmap for investing in and maintaining critical infrastructure to enhance the well-being of its residents. The Capital Budget reflects Council’s decisions on strategic priorities amid the constraints faced by the current economic climate.

Capital Budget invests in range of priority projects while minimizing impact on tax levy

The Mayor’s Proposed 2024 Budget and Business Plan on November 24 reflected a general tax increase of 4.56 percent. Staff brought forward amendments to the proposed budget to reduce the general tax levy to 3.99 percent, namely by transferring to the 2024 Capital Budget $1.2 million in uncommitted Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) financing from the City’s multi-year Low-Volume Gravel Roads program.

During deliberations, Council added nearly $900,000 in additional road improvement projects to the budget across all wards. In addition, reductions of $1.45 million were made and deferred to future years. As the City heads into 2024 Operating Budget deliberations on December 5, the general tax increase now sits at 3.58 percent while the special tax increase for the dedicated capital levy, which supports state-of-good-repair capital needs, remains at 1.5 percent.

Mayor Elmslie expressed enthusiasm about the budget, stating:

"This comprehensive capital plan falls in step with our long-term goals. We're committed to maintaining affordable taxes for our residents as we navigate the rapid growth we're experiencing. We're catching up on projects we had to postpone, putting more investment into roads than ever before, and ensuring our community thrives. Our staff did a great job in crafting a budget that is financially prudent and lowers the tax levy. I’m thankful to all Councillors for their determination to represent their constituents. Our lively discussions have brought forward new projects that will be well received by those we serve."         

Understanding the Capital Budget

Total budget: $70.6 million

The Capital Budget focuses on two categories of projects:

  1. State-of-Good-Repair: Investments in existing assets to maintain functionality, condition, and lifespan.
  2. Growth-Related: Investments in new or existing assets to meet the needs of development and growth.

The 2024 Capital Budget represents a significant increase over 2022 and 2023 capital budgets of $57 and $58 million, respectively.

Significant project highlights

The 2024 Capital Budget includes key projects such as road resurfacing, community centre upgrades and fleet expansions.

Notable projects include:

  • Repair, resurfacing and reconstruction of roads throughout the municipality, totaling $32.8 million.
  • Multi-year commitment to enhance emergency services including a new Paramedic Headquarters and Fleet Centre, the purchase of multiple fire trucks, equipment and a fire training centre burn tower.
  • Updates at several community centres and arenas, reconstruction of Memorial Park roadways, redevelopment of Pinewood Park and revitalization of Juniper Park.
  • Updates and accessibility enhancements at several library branches.

For a list and map of significant capital projects, view page 20 and 21 of the Budget and Business Plan on our website.

Deferred capital projects are being caught up over next four years

There are $89 million in capital projects that have been deferred to future years, including repairs and expansions for roads, bridges and recreational facilities. The Long-Term Financial Plan takes these projects into account and forecasts completion or approval of these projects by 2027. Approximately one quarter of the 2024 Capital Budget includes deferred projects, at a total of $22 million.

Long range plans are being updated and will be presented in June 2024. Those plans will address the recently adopted Municipal Housing Pledge and how the municipality will address the capital needs to support the committed level of growth.

Strong Mayor Powers play a role in the 2024 budget process

Strong mayor powers were granted to an expanded list of municipalities, including Kawartha Lakes effective October 31, 2023 by the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act. This Act outlines a new process by which the City’s proposed budgets are approved. Budgets are proposed by the Mayor to Council.

Mayor Elmslie’s intent is to respect the current process and timelines to adopt budgets for 2024, while also respecting the new legislation and role of the Head of Council. In order to synchronize the budget schedule with the new legislation, Council passed several resolutions to “reset” the 2024 budget process. All City budgets are anticipated to be adopted within the first half of December. This will allow for early procurement of priority goods and services to implement various projects.

Next steps in the budget process:

Council will deliberate the Operating, Special Projects and Water and Wastewater Budgets on December 5, 2023. Follow the Budget page on our website for agendas, supporting documents and links to the livestream recordings of all meetings.

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