The District of Muskoka has passed its annual budget, with a tax hike of 4.15 per cent.
That means a home assessed at $300,000 will be paying $37.08 more in taxes. Guidelines set by council in 2022 had predicted an increase of 6.5 per cent.
“Muskoka District Council has approved a budget that is not just a collection of numbers and figures – but a reflection of our commitment to our community,” says District Chair Jeff Lehman. “I think we’ve struck a balance between our immediate priorities and needs for the future, and actions to tackle the more challenging issues we are facing, such as the housing crisis. District Council is taking some really important steps here to invest in health care capacity, the environment, housing, and other priorities we have heard about from our residents.”
The operating budget, which includes expenses such as maintenance and service costs, is set at $151,932,153, up roughly 8.3 per cent from last year. The capital budget is $35,950,606, which covers purchasing new and replacing old assets, up about 21 per cent.
Alongside 2023’s budget, the redevelopment of Huntsville’s Fairvern Nursing home has had its budget increased to $94-million, with site preparation currently underway. Meanwhile, $5.7-million is earmarked for the new paramedic station in Glen Orchard, and $1.4-million will go towards the redevelopment of Muskoka’s two hospitals.
For infrastructure, big ticket items include $18.4-million to improve and maintain district roads, $3.8-million to upgrade bridges, and $1.6-million to rehabilitate community housing. Staff predict a total surplus of $15.7-million.
“We’re facing new and demanding realities, including increased inflation and the fact that everything costs more,” says Suzanne Olimer, Commissioner of Finance and Corporate Services. “This well-crafted budget allows us to maintain our infrastructure, prepare for the future, and address challenges we continue to face. Staff have prepared a budget that maintains service levels, responds to growth-related pressures, and includes investments that have a meaningful impact to all members of our community. I’m proud to say this budget achieves all of this, while staying below current inflation.”
You can view the District’s 2023 budget here: https://www.muskoka.on.ca/budgets