Budget Plan Presented To Essex Town Council

Essex Town Council is looking ahead to the impact Ontario’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act is going to have on the town’s bottom line.

Councillors got a look at the town’s proposed budget for next year, and it includes almost $213,000 in the event Bill 148 becomes law. It has passed second reading in the Ontario legislature.

Not only will the bill increase the minimum wage to $15/hr by 2019, some mayors fear it will increase spending causing double-digit increases in property rates. Among them, Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara who says it will boost expenditures in his town by $2.1-million.

McNamara wants the province to exempt small towns and rural areas.

Essex Treasurer and Director of Finance and Business Services presented the spending plan for his town at a special meeting Monday night. He also showed councillors the town’s operating forecast through to 2022.

A summary shows a 1% increase in total operating revenues to about $40.6-million. A surplus in this year’s operating budget of $91,000 will be carried over into 2018.

Several projects have been worked into the budget pending the approval of some $3.8-million in grant applications. They include a roads assessment, conversion of town streetlights to LED, new streetlights and storm drainage improvements for Ward 1, and accessible ramp access at Colchester Beach.