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County of Wellington passes budget with 3.8 per cent increase

Warden says the 2023 budget was delivered under 'extraordinarily challenging circumstances'
20210222 County of Wellington KA
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GUELPH — The County of Wellington passed a budget under "extraordinarily challenging circumstances" Thursday that comes with a 3.8 per cent tax increase.

The budget passed with a unanimous vote.

Warden Andy Lennox noted how difficult it was to develop this budget.

Although Lennox expressed the general aim, with the budget, to keep costs down for residents while delivering on the necessary resources and infrastructure.

“This budget is aimed at striking a balance between limiting the cost impact to residents during a period with 40-year inflationary highs, while continuing to provide the necessary resources to deliver services and maintain infrastructure for our residents,” Lennox said.

“County council has passed the 2023 budget under extraordinarily challenging circumstances,” Lennox said.

Not everyone was thrilled with the increase.

Coun. Mary Lloyd noted the increase may negatively affect some residents.

Lloyd, who represents Ward 5 in Centre Wellington, had asked council work toward a tax increase of two per cent.

“In December, I stood before this group and I asked to keep the increase to approximately two per cent,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd noted that these are challenging times for many people.

“To say that we’re in challenging times sounds like a very small understatement of what it is for what individuals are facing right now,” Lloyd said.

Nonetheless, Lloyd acknowledged that the cost of things needed by the county have increased.

“After the presentation in January, where we learned about the increases with regards to fuel, with regards to the materials that we are going to be needing to do roads projects, understanding that we had so many things that were on the budget,” Lloyd said.

Moreover, a low tax increase now may imply a larger tax increase in the near future.

“And then also learning about the ramifications of pushing projects out and how it could force more major increases in our tax rates in the immediate future,” Lloyd said.

“So I’m sad to see that we’re at 3.8. And I understand now why it is that.”

But as a final remark, Lloyd brought to everyone’s attention the tax increase may be a problem for some residents.

“However, we have to be always mindful that this does put more of an impending expense on our residents and it could affect some of their lifestyles in changes going forward,” Lloyd said.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.