Woodstock budget: tax rate unchanged, capital budget restored

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The property tax rate for residents of Woodstock will remain unchanged in 2022, although the city will collect more taxes thanks to a $ 35.6 million increase in assessed property values ​​in 2022.

The tax rate will remain at $ 1.45 per $ 100 of assessment in the interior – fully serviced – area of ​​Woodstock and $ 1.40 for the exterior area and west end of the city’s industrial park. .

Through the combination of the city’s growth and the increase in appraisal of existing properties, the increase in appraisal value will bring an additional $ 516,249 to the city coffers.

Woodstock, however, is losing $ 171,658 of that additional revenue due to the reduction in the Equalization grant from $ 880,163 in 2021 to $ 708,505 in 2022.

After the Tuesday November 23 council meeting and approval of the nearly $ 10.6 million budget, Mayor Art Slipp welcomed the increased tax base, saying the city needed additional revenue.

“It saved us from having to deal with a possible tax increase,” he said, “but that income was consumed very, very quickly because of the salary increases and other things.”

Slipp said it is not easy for the board and staff to stay focused on taxes while providing the necessary services and improvements.

“It’s a very, very difficult process. We go through it line by line. We spend a lot of time on it. The department heads did a good job, ”he said.

Slipp said board members were very excited to return to a reasonable capital budget, which last year fell to just over $ 1,300.

“This is why we borrowed for the very first time,” he said. “The council started the discussions this year by saying that we are not going to borrow any more money. If we hadn’t had the 6-7% valuation increase, we would still have been in a very difficult position.

The mayor said Woodstock historically budgets between half a million and $ 1 million for capital projects. The 2022 budget provided for over $ 561,000 for capital purchases.

While the council has allocated part of the capital to purchase a fire engine, a new police car and paving, a large part of the budgeted investment funds remain independent of a specific project. .

Slipp said department heads, other staff and board members would decide where to direct the remaining capital funds in December or January.

“The city’s priorities will be reviewed and addressed first, so some departments may not have capital projects this year,” he said.

With the city’s new well site about to go live, Slipp said, the city should consider installing a manganese processing system similar to its existing wellhead. He noted that city engineers are already developing cost estimates.

The mayor said the city also has gas tax funds for capital projects next year, noting that part of those funds will cover the city’s share of designated highway improvements.

“We also have a list of four or five gas tax projects next year,” he said.

While pleased with the city’s increased tax base, Slipp said the city still has limited funds to deal with a long list of needed projects.

“We have more long-term needs than we can possibly finance in the short term,” he said. “The key is to set our priorities, so that we know what we’re going to have. ”

In addition to approving the general fund budget for 2022, the council also approved the utility budget.

While water and sewer tariffs remain unchanged, interim CEO Andrew Garnett said utility revenues will increase from $ 1.312 million in 2021 to $ 1.345 million in 2022.

“It’s a sign that Woodstock is growing,” he said.

Woodstock’s 2022 budget again shows that the Woodstock Police Force continues to consume the largest share of the city’s spending, with the city planning to spend just over $ 2.6 million to provide policing services. in 2022, an increase of 1.56 percent.

AYR Automotive Center operations rank second with planned spending of $ 1.76 million, down 6.73% from 2021. Other recreational and cultural services will increase 20% to $ 840,135 in 2022. However, the AYR Motor Center and Recreation costs will be partially offset by expected sales of $ 826,000.

The budget will see the city’s transportation costs drop slightly to $ 1.553 million in 2022, while the fire department also dropped a small amount to $ 906,825.

Woodstock’s total budget increased 5.82 percent.

During the regular council session, Garnett provided council members with a brief recap of the budget, noting that after 24 years with the city, this year marked the first time he had deepened the budgeting process.

“It was a learning experience,” he said.

Board members thanked Garnett for his efforts, along with the Board. Trina Jones praising the Acting OAC for her availability during the process.

“I appreciate the two-way correspondence,” she said.

Slipp thanked Garnett, department heads, staff and the board for their contributions during the budget process, but noted that passing the budget motion is not the last step. He explained that the city must now submit the budget to the province, where it will be the subject of a detailed study before final approval.


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