The 2024 budget is all but in the books, but the heavy lifting is now behind Amherstburg town council.
While final budget passage has yet to occur, two days of budget deliberations last week yielded a 6.44 per cent tax increase. Taxes are going up around the region, but this one appears on the higher end based on reports of what other municipalities in the area are coming in at.
I get it that there are pressures this year but I have to admit this is likely one of the largest tax increases that I’ve ever covered. Maybe times are different this year than they have been in the past, but I am having difficulty remembering an increase like 6.44 per cent. I’m going off memory and my memory isn’t what it used to be and I haven’t had the time this week to properly research past budgets as I’ve been busy writing about this one.
In fairness, while there are people who are upset about the increase, I have met a few people that are OK with it as they want departments funded and projects to occur. Admittedly, I was expecting an increase of somewhere in the three to five per cent range so I was expecting a bit more cutting during deliberations.
I don’t mind staff having the resources they need but I wonder if this is the year for it. The same is true for some of the projects in the budget. One such project is the grooming of the hill at the Libro Centre. It’s nice to have and I’m not opposed to the concept, but was this the year?
If the sidewalk on the south side of Pickering Dr. heading from Sandwich St. S. to where the proposed new LCBO store is going to go increases public safety, great. I’m certainlly not opposed to keeping things safe.
That said, that issue would have been a tough one for me because I wonder if that project could have waited a year.
There were a few other “why this year?” items that jumped out at me, but my list could differ from others.
At any rate, affordability is an issue for all levels of government. As a society, we need to ensure the most vulnerable are taken care of no matter what budget figures come down the line.
As the final budget has not been passed, those with concerns and ideas could still contact their elected officials to see if there are items that could be changed. People might think it’s too late but I say it’s worth a shot and there is no harm is asking.
By Ron Giofu