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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Grey County Approves Budget

Grey County | by Matt Villeneuve  

County Council approves nearly $53-million budget with a tax hike under 2 per cent.

Grey County Council unanimously approved its 2016 financial blueprint, with a 1.94 per cent increase to the upper-tier's portion of the overall tax levy.

Warden, Kevin Eccles, tells Bayshore Broadcasting News he's pleased with the nearly $53-million document, especially since it addresses the infrastructure deficit.

An additional $1.2-million will be invested into County-owned roadways and bridges.

Eccles says a portion of that cost will be offset by reductions "in Ordinary and Winter Maintenance activities," as modifications to service delivery, the use of new materials and preventative maintenance have provided savings.

During a budget presentation on Tuesday, the Director of Finance noted that Grey County is spending about $10-million more in 2016 compared to 2007.

Kevin Weppler says it's because the upper-tier is now providing more services.

According to Warden Eccles, a commitment to tourism, economic development and community investment have increased the cost to regional tax-payers.

He admits the 1.94 per cent hike will give lower-tier municipalities less "wiggle room" when determining their own individual tax increases for 2016.

Other projects in 2016 include renovating and expanding the County headquarters in Owen Sound, engineering for a new paramedic station at the Chatsworth Maintenance Depot and reserve funding for the future redevelopment of Rockwood Terrace.

There's also a $500,000 contribution to help bring high-speed broadband Internet service to Grey County's most remote areas.

It's important to note that the County's tax increase will be blended with the municipal and education levies to achieve an overall 'per household' rate.




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