Last month Peterborough County passed its 2017 budget which results in an assessment increase of 2.92% for County residents. Together with the municipal rate increase established in the 2017 Cavan Monaghan municipal budget in January, local property taxes will rise by — for township residents in 2017. According to Director of Finance Trena DeBruijn, the increase will provide the funding required to address County infrastructure and service delivery needs. Retiring Chief Administrative Officer Gary King presented the County’s Five Year Strategic Plan to Council on April 18th, providing some insights regarding the priorities identified at the County level where funds will be directed.
The resolution of a financial dispute regarding the County contribution to the PRHC capital/construction campaign allowed County staff to dedicate more funds to pressing road and bridge infrastructure investments. Some of the significant projects in our area include the second phase of the reconstruction of King Street in Millbrook, asphalt resurfacing on County Rd. 10 and development of a connection for Airport Road. He noted that the responsibility for maintaining 725 km of arterial roads in the County absorbs roughly $1 million per month during the winter season for ploughing, salting and sanding.
The total budget for the County this year comes in at $71,621,347, of which $39,339,772 or 55% comes from property taxes, with intergovernmental transfers, development and user charges and reserves topping up the balance. Mr. King commented on the growth of this number, recalling that in 2004 the total budget was only $41 million, representing a 73% increase in the past 13 years. Thirty five percent of County expenditures are directed to public works and transit, 23% to the Paramedic service, 11% towards social services and housing and 10% to waste and landfill costs.
This year the County will conduct a growth analysis and impact study on the effects of the Highway 407 extension to provide information for the development of the next Official Plan.
Asked about the future of local government, King commented that recent changes to bill 168 suggested that amalgamation was inevitable. He believes that within the next 10 to 15 years, City, County and Municipal governments in the region will be combined in order to achieve operational and management efficiencies. KG