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Callander residents brace to tax increase near eight per cent

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The tax rate in Callander is up almost 8 percent this year – 7.79 percent to be exact.

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This means those with a single-family home will pay about $245 more per year, or about $21 per month, based on a $261,000 home value.

The budget is yet to be formally approved, but during last night’s council meeting, the council agreed that the 7.79 percent increase is needed to proceed with planned projects, increase the reserve fund and prepare for future spending.

“It is a difficult task to reconcile what we need for our reserve plans and what we hope to achieve in the coming years,” Mayor Robb Noon said, mentioning that ideally he hoped the rate would be somewhere in the range raise by five percent cent range.

In fact, the mood at the Council table was somber when the decision to raise interest rates was made. However, as Noon said, “We cannot deplete our reserves any further and hope to replenish them next year.”

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Tapping into reserves has helped keep the levy low in the past, but “I don’t want to put our community in a worse position,” Noon said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re seeing such a large increase, but our community has been in a great position to keep our taxes low over the past few years, but it’s cost us our reserves.”

The new rate will add approximately $1.2 million to reserves.

Approximately $7.5 million is currently in the municipal reserve fund. The increase also ensures that all of the community’s current plans continue, including those in the Downtown and Waterfront Revitalization Plan, museum repairs, the Bill Barber Arena upgrade, and the Eglington Road and community docks projects.

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“We expect all of these projects to be completed this year,” noted Ashley Bilodeau, Callander’s senior municipal director. Once the budget is approved, community staff can begin submitting requests for proposals for the work.

“I would have liked to have seen five percent,” Noon said. “But if you read the budget, read our strategy to move the community forward and stay on track, we’re still depleting but not badly and I think going forward we’ll be able to refill our tax rate.” and lower.”

“I’m worried about getting the money back into the reserves,” Noon said. He likened saving reserves to regulate tax dues to that old chestnut Peter robbing to pay Paul, “and I’ve never liked that way of doing things,” he said. “It’s not good for your community.”

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter working for BayToday, a Village Media publication. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Canadian government.

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