County council gets first look at 2020 draft budget

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Huron County Treasurer Michael Blumhagen presented a draft budget at county council’s last meeting.

Blumhagen said the draft budget includes a levy increase of 8.84 per cent or a spending increase of $3.68 million last year. Blumhagen added with the increase in assessment factored in, the tax rate increase with be just over two per cent, which amounts to an increase of just under $22 per $100,000 assessment on a house.

Blumhagen said they did have to take some money out of reserves, primarily to cover cuts in provincial funding. But he also cautions, the county is going to be facing significant costs to maintain infrastructure over the next several years.

“We’re seeing a lot of pressure this year from provincial funding cuts and also just upcoming infrastructure costs,” he said. “We’ve really benefited over the past twenty-five to forty years just based on the long-term nature of our infrastructure, roads and bridges.”

Blumhagen said many of their local roads and bridges are reaching their end of life now.

“Now we’re really seeing our roads and bridges, they’re really coming to end of life and we’re gonna be seeing a big crunch over the next, probably ten to fifteen years, in terms of addressing some of our infrastructure needs. So we’re just on the cusp of those significant cost pressures,” he said.

Blumhagen said the budget he presented was a first draft and council will hold a special budget meeting on January 23 so see where cuts can be made.