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National Volunteer Week
Semaine nationale de l'action bénévole
Mois de la Fierté
Home & Garden Guide
Class of 2020 / Bravo aux Diplômés
by Isabel Mosseler
WN Council had another jab at bringing down the 2020 budget in light of COVID-19, using all of the May 5 teleconferencing meeting to find savings and ease the burden on already beleaguered taxpayers this year. While council had settled on a 6.2% tax hike and a $300,000 dip in reserves in early March, that was before the pandemic struck. Since they had not yet officially adopted the budget, they sought to slash spending and give ratepayers a bit of relief.
As a result of some serious cuts and cost deferrals, they managed to whittle the hike down to 4.07%, with some fighting to bring it even lower and others arguing that short term gain would cause long term pain. It was pointed out that expenditures outside of the town’s control accounted for a 3.8% increase, with those expenses mandated by provincial boards such as the Health Unit and the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board (DNSSAB). That left the town with little wiggle room, argued CAO Jay Barbeau, as he presented a proposal to cut or defer over $600K in spending compared to the March proposal.
Barbeau reminded council that the opening gambit was an 11.64% tax levy increase that was reduced to 6.2%, with tentative approval by a majority of council. He added that after COVID hit, the picture actually worsened as projected revenues fell, adding to the challenge. His revised budget assumed a reopening of October 2020 for municipal facilities, but even that was not assured under current circumstances, he noted. He estimated the municipality will lose $462K in revenue, due to facilities closures, halting of permits and licensing, and removal of penalties and interest on unpaid taxes – a measure taken to alleviate pressure on taxpayers during the COVID-19 crisis.
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