The two-day deliberation over the Town of Gravenhurst’s 2022 budget ended with council agreeing on a one-percent tax hike.
That means a home assessed at $100,000 will have to pay an extra $4.66 in taxes.
“This has been another challenging year for our community,” Mayor Paul Kelly says. “This council recognizes the struggles many have endured as we navigate through the complexities of this ongoing pandemic. The approved 2022 budget reflects a desire to keep taxes down while continuing to address the needs of our residents and businesses as we gradually come out of a difficult couple of years.”
The budget includes $8,103,000 to be earmarked for town assets with the bulk of it – $4,634,000 to be exact – going towards keeping Gravenhurst’s roads in good shape. The only other department to have a budget of over $1 million is the facilities department.
The roads department will be kept busy in 2022 with 16 projects on tap, including the rehabilitation of First Street South from Bethune Road South to Sharpe Street, which will be the most costly project at $1,020,000. The rehabilitation of North Muldrew Lake Road is the next most expensive project at $760,000, followed by the $700,000 worth of work that will be done on Pinedale Road between Highway 11 South and Bethune Drive South.
The multi-year budget lists projects being done into 2026 with a total of 75 projects being prepared for, ranging from $24,000 for the rehabilitation of Sarah Street from Hotchkiss to Bay Street, to $1,200,000 for drainage outlet improvements on Ridge Road.
Council also budgeted $480,000 for a downtown washroom. It’s not known yet when it will be installed, but it’s something that’s been in the works since April.
As part of the 2022 budget, town staff will be tasked with doing a climate change risk and vulnerability assessment and climate action plan. A wharf revitalization plan will also be worked on over the next 12 months. In the budget, $215,000 has been earmarked for that.
Council also approved installing electric vehicle charging stations at “strategic locations” over the next five years. A total of $140,000 is being budgeted to do that over the next three years.
With the municipal election happening in 2022, $138,500 has been budgeted to prepare for it.
Also included in the budget is the expansion of by-law enforcement, the expansion of the town’s community improvement plan, ensuring the town’s roads, bridges and storm-water drainage remains a priority, improving customer responsiveness and work order tracking, and updating the town’s zoning by-law to make affordable housing more available.