• Rob Hornberger

Town council to weigh 3.5 per cent tax hike, beefed up infrastructure spending

Updated: Jan 10

Draft budget includes municipal hiring, expanded recreational facilities
Upgrades to Road 3 East from Albuna Townline to the Kratz Sideroad reflect Kingsville's "ongoing commitment" to improve the town's urban and rural roads, according to Mayor Nelson Santos.

KINGSVILLE — Town council will consider a 3.5 per cent tax increase as part of this year’s draft budget that would also see major spending on road repairs and an expansion of the municipal workforce.

The increase would mean a $62.35 hike in the municipal portion of the tax bill based on a home with an assessed value of $250,000.

Council will begin a line-by-line, department-by-department review of the draft budget on Wednesday.

The budget is expected to be passed toward the end of month.

Ryan McLeod, the town’s director of financial services, said a number of factors contributed to the municipal tax increase, including the rising rate of inflation, increases to the minimum wage and increased demand for municipal services as Kingsville’s population grows.

According to Statistics Canada, the Consumer Price Index rose by 4.7 per cent between November 2020 and November 2021.

“We’re not different than any other business in that we have to deal with the same inflationary pressures,” McLeod said.

“And then the other major component has to do with staff and adding staffing resources.”

In 2021 the town hired a director of community and development services, a town solicitor, a communications officer and a clerk.

This year the town will consider hiring a human resources assistant, two unionized public works employees, an engineering technician, a fire prevention officer and a recreational programming co-ordinator.

McLeod said the planned hiring of a programming co-ordinator is in response to requests from residents for more recreational programs.

Among the new recreational programs and services planned for this year are a Frisbee golf course near the dog park off County Road 50, further improvements to Lions Park, a new dog park near the intersection of Jasperson Drive and Road 2 and construction of a shade structure at the new pickleball courts.

“We’re looking at new sports that are coming online like pickleball and the potential to add a Frisbee golf course,” said Mayor Nelson Santos.

“These are different amenities that haven’t been offered before and it’s in keeping with what our residents are asking for.”

The draft budget calls for $14.5 million in spending on road repairs, resurfacing and bridge work.

Santos said the infrastructure work planned for 2022 is part of the town’s “ongoing commitment” to improving Kingsville’s urban and rural roads.

Included in the road work proposals are improvements to Road 2 between the Graham and Kratz side roads, upgrades to Road 3 between the Albuna Townline and County Road 34 and improvements to roads 10 and 11 and a road in the Cedar Beach subdivision.

The town also plans to spend $500,000 in preparatory work for the west end ring road which will divert east-west traffic away from the downtown. The spending includes an environmental study, an engineering design of the planned route from the junction of Heritage Road and Hwy 20 to Road 2 and land acquisition.

The 3.5 tax increase does not include the county and education levies.

The proposed 2022 municipal tax levy would raise $ 20,346,105 compared to $ 19,150,737 in 2021.

Last year Kingsville had the second lowest municipal tax rate after Lakeshore. The taxes on a home assessed at $250,000 in 2021, including the county and school board levies, were $3,385. This year taxes will be $3,467 on a similarly assessed home.

McLeod said the assessed value of a home is not the same as the market value. The assessed value of Ontario homes is set by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).

A breakdown of the operating budget show policing as the largest expenditure at

$3,269,016 followed by public works, $3,085,792; parks and recreation, $2,384,816; administration, $2,003,417; the fire department, $1,719,566; and garbage collection and disposal, $1,531,549.

Other sources of revenue for the town include federal and provincial grants, $6,030,960; reserves, $3,131,364; and development charges, $6,908,750.

When the operating and capital budgets are combined the town will spend around $38 million in 2022.

Kingsville residential property taxes are the second lowest among county municipalities, trailing only Lakeshore.

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