County of Lambton 2018 Draft budget is revealed. February 21, 2018 (Photo by Melanie Irwin)

$213M County Budget Proposed

Lambton County Council has had its first look at the 2018 draft budget, which amounts to $213.4-million and calls for a 3.25% hike in the amount to be raised through taxation.

The document was presented during a meeting in Wyoming Wednesday morning.

New assessment growth of $597,000 brings the net tax increase to 2.43%.

Warden Bill Weber says once again staff have delivered a budget that maintains services throughout the county.

“It’s a good news budget,” says Weber. “We have some growth in new assessment that helps with the dollars coming in. The municipality is in good shape credit wise, with our credit rating.”

$20.3-million in capital spending is proposed to fund 51 projects, including the rehabilitation of the Bear Creek and Shashawandah bridges, the purchase of two ambulances, changes to the office layout of the county administration building and rehabilitation work on Bentpath Line, London Line and Inwood Rd.

Council will also consider approving a third year of upgrades under a ten-year $40-million social housing capital plan and funds to investigate the pros and cons of building a multi-use convention centre.

It’s recommended $5.7-million be directed to reserves to help finance big ticket items that may arise in the future or to help pay for unexpected emergencies.

Six organizations are seeking grants in 2018.

An “Attrition Management Update” provided by CAO Ron Van Horne shows a reduction of three full-time equivalent employees in 2017; a family support worker, gallery assistant and printer/graphic artist at the gallery.

Lambton County Council budget deliberations begin at 9am March 7 in Wyoming.