Property taxes, water rates to rise in Norfolk County
By J.P. AntonacciFacilities Maintenance Industry Utilities
Norfolk County residents will see higher property taxes and water rates this year after councillors this week passed a budget designed to address infrastructure needs in the rural municipality.
Residential property taxes will rise 5.7 per cent to support an operating budget of $119.4 million.
For homeowners on a property assessed at $240,000, the annual tax hike works out to $182.14.
The increase includes money for new positions in the planning department to meet provincial targets for evaluating development applications.
Funding will also boost the county’s IT security system, extend library hours and allow the heritage and culture department to hire a curator for the Delhi Tobacco Museum and Heritage Centre, which currently has no full-time staff.
Councillors voted to deny themselves a planned pay raise this year in solidarity with residents coping with inflation.
“This budget continues the long-term strategy previously adopted by council to work toward closing Norfolk’s infrastructure gap, while making meaningful investments in system maintenance and addressing project management capacity at a time when the county is embarking on the largest capital investments in its history,” Mayor Amy Martin said in a statement.
Martin pointed to increased transfers to the county’s reserves as part of an ongoing effort to improve Norfolk’s financial position.
In prebudget talks in July, staff proposed a nine per cent property tax increase, which council whittled down to 5.7 per cent.
Ratepayers will also see higher water and wastewater bills after council voted for a 8.5 per cent rate hike in support of a $26.7-million water and wastewater budget.
That increase _ which will add $112 to the average residential water bill _ includes funding for a pair of new staff positions to maintain and improve the water system.
Norfolk plans to spend millions in the coming years to repair and upgrade water infrastructure. The goal is to increase water treatment capacity as a precursor to lifting a freeze on development in communities like Waterford and Port Dover, where large housing projects are in the pipeline.
By J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR