Kingsville continues work to bring down property tax increase

Kingsville Town Hall is seen in this file photo. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

When Kingsville town councillors continue budget deliberations on Wednesday, they’ll have much to consider.

There’s a $1.7-milion increase in the proposed budget. The plan includes another $883,326 in spending on operations and, on the capital side, $840,638 more.

So far, homeowners in the town with a property valued at $250,000 face a $90.79 increase in their annual property tax bill.

The town is communicating the increase slightly differently this year. Instead of a percentage, officials are telling homeowners the dollar amount.

“We’re not all starting from the same point. A percentage can be a bit misleading,” said Ryan McLeod, Kingsville’s Director of Financial Services.

However, when pressed, McLeod said after one day of deliberations, the increase is 5.3 per cent.

Working against councillors is inflation, increasing insurance costs, a continued delay in new property assessments, pressure to improve services, and addressing the state of infrastructure.

The original draft called for the addition of three full-time staff members, but McLeod said the town might hire more in the new year.

“Throughout the year, they’ve been hearing from residents about enhanced services they’d like to see on our roads, parks and recreation side of things,” he explained. “They kind of challenged management to reconsider the staffing request. They feel there is a need for more staff.”

That means there could be cuts elsewhere in the operating budget.

McLeod is hopeful they won’t choose to cut the capital budget.

A report to councillors said the town would need to increase spending on core infrastructure by $400,000 every year for the next 15 to 20 to address its needs.

“With the cost of construction going up — the last time I looked, the construction index was rising 15 per cent — that gap to replace our existing assets just keeps growing and growing, we’re not funding nearly enough to close that gap,” said McLeod. “What we’re proposing in the budget is just trying to keep the gap in check so we don’t fall further behind.”

Major projects listed for 2023 include $9.5-million for Road 2 East from Graham Sideroad to Division Road, $2.8-million for road resurfacing across the municipality, and replacing the Road 11 bridge over Patterson Drain.

“It’s easy for politicians to just kick the can down the road because a lot of these assets are really long-lived,” said McLeod. “You can ignore it for a few years, but it’s eventually going to catch up to you.”