Town Work began last night (Tuesday) to reduce the proposed 5.3 per cent 2007 Town operating budget hike. Budget committee (all members of council) met to begin the three-week process to whittle down the staff-proposed $22.3 million operating budget, $14.2 million capital budget and $91 million nine-year capital forecast. Staff is recommending an operating budget with a 5.3 per cent increase over last year's budget. That translates to a $49 increase to the average homeowner's tax bill (based on a home assessed at $300,000). The tax bill for town services amounts to $979. Region Education TOTAL 2006 budget $930 $1,270 $792 $2,992 2007 budget $979 $1,314 $792 $3,085 $ change $49 $44 $0 $93 % change 5.3 % 3.5 % 0.0 % 3.1 % Region taxes are slated to go up 3.5 per cent ($44) for a total of $1,314. Education taxes remain unchanged at this time at $792. The total combined taxes amount to an overall 3.1 per cent increase ($93). The Town's 5.3 per cent hike includes 2 per cent dedicated tax for the pavement management program and 1.3 per cent for additional firefighters. The remaining amount can be attributed to maintaining existing service levels. The higher cost for utilities, supplies and contracted services has impacted the budget increase, partially offset by an increase in assessment (3.6 per cent or $195,000) in both the residential and non-residential sectors.
In the capital budget, the most expensive project slated for approval is $3.5 million for land for a community college. Other major projects are: $1.4 million for Main St. Georgetown improvements, $1.4 million for pavement management, $671,000 for Main St. Acton resurfacing, $500,000 for Phase 3B of Trafalgar Rd. Sports Park (construction of two unlit soccer fields or one unlit major baseball diamond-- financing depending on a $100,000 contribution from either the Georgetown Soccer Club or the Georgetown Slopitch League) and $500,000 for Recreation and Parks land acquisition. The only public delegation night on the 2007 budget is scheduled for Monday, January 15, and the deadline to register is today (Wednesday, Jan. 10). Already members of the Georgetown and Acton Senior Centres, and Willow Park Ecology Centre have signed up to address the budget committee. Those interested should contact the Clerk's Department. During the budget talks, the committee will discuss staff reports on traffic management in Glen Williams, gravel treatment on Clayhill Rd., railway crossing safety, Trafalgar Rd. cemetery project, Fairy Lake water quality, pesticide application signage and OMERS funding.