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Operational and capital budgets tabled by town council

The 2024 operating and capital budgets have been

tabled by town council with council members having

their work cut out for them.

Elected officials will enter deliberations trying to

whittle down a proposed tax increase of 7.13 per cent.

Broken down, that starting figure represents a 4.56

per cent increase in contractual costs, in-year commit-

ments, an increase in special reserves and new posi-

tions while another 1.6 per cent is to support the asset

management plan (AMP) financial strategy. The other

portion of the proposed increase is 0.77 per cent in

new debt.

That proposed increase translates to a $194.14 per

year increase to the average home valued at $250,000,

or $3.66 per week.

Town council learned of the news during a special

council meeting Monday night. CAO Valerie Critchley

told council members administration crafted the draft

budget with the town’s new strategic plan in mind.

She said they tried to be mindful of the “pillars”

contained within.

The Town of Amherstburg not only has to look at

fiscal sustainability, but Critchley said they are respon-

sible for providing quality services as well. There are

“hard realities” that have to be faced, she indicated,

such as five years worth of inflation and previous tax

increases that were below the rate of inflation.

“We did not keep pace and that put us behind the

eight ball before we even started to put together the

2024 budget,” said Critchley.

There was also an increased demand for services

and the adding of new assets.

Other municipalities within Essex County start their

budget processes with proposed increases ranging

from five to seven per cent, she added, but the CAO

said the municipalities on the lower end of that scale

had higher tax increases than Amherstburg last year

and have healthier reserves. Drawing on reserves is

not recommended for Amherstburg, she indicated.

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