Alfred-Plantagenet Township property owners will be looking at an approximate six per cent increase in property taxes in 2018. A township document shows that in 2018, property owners will be paying $661 per $100,000 in assessment of a residential property. The average impact on residential homeowners is about 6.6 per cent.

The township is spending an additional $22,000 on elections (which take place later this year) and will pay $58,000 more for Ontario Provincial Police services. Expenses related to the township’s asset management plan and a complete accessibility plan total an additional $67,000 for 2018. Repairs to the Alfred municipal office are expected to be $301,000 in 2018. A decrease in fire dispatch services will be reflected in 2018 when the township transfers those costs to the United Counties of Prescott-Russell ($50,000).

As with most municipalities these days, Alfred-Plantagenet Township’s major expenses for the 2018 budget are related to infrastructure, namely water and roads.

Residents of the township will see a tax increase of three per cent, confirmed Alfred-Plantagenet Chief Administrative Officer and Clerk, Marc Daigneault. For the township, this translates into $576,375 more in taxation in revenues, to $7,560,738, compared to $6,984,363 in 2017. This represents an eight per cent increase in taxes collected by the municipality.

In terms of operating costs, 2017 saw a total of $9,788,730, an amount which is $34,383 higher than the projection for 2018, which is $9,754,347. The top three expenses are the same ones as in 2017: roads ($2,510,863), police ($1,593,161) and administration ($1,355,271).

Daigneault added that even though the township increased taxes by three per cent, it may very well feel a bit more like six per cent since the amount is added on top of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s assessment values for 2018, which have increased by three per cent.

Part of the township’s increase is attributed to a variety of projects and, as stated by Daigneault, the overall increase in prices, living expenses and overall inflation of 1.4%.

In terms of tangible investment, 2018 brings good news for the village of Plantagenet.

“There’s a variety of things in the works. The biggest however, is a water main replacement in Plantagenet village. It’s at least 50 years old, fragile, and spans 1.1 kilometers. We still need to secure funding for it, since the whole thing represents a $1.2-million investment. The grant would cover 90% of those expenses,” said Daigneault. With 90 per cent of the cost funded by the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund ($1,028,025), the additional 10 per cent would be picked up by ratepayers.

The Plantagenet Community Hall will also be undergoing renovations, including a new facade.

“Everything needs to be solidified before renovating the facade. We also have water infiltration issues in the basement. These buildings are 50, 60 years old. Like a house, if certain aspects are neglected for 20 years, you start having issues,” said Daigneault.

2018 water and sewer rates

Alfred, Lefaivre and Plantagenet will all see an increase of their water works rates in 2018. Alfred/Lefaivre will see an increase of 4.9% and Plantagenet of 5%. Wendover’s 2017 rates remain but are still the township’s highest.

The origin of these varying rates is explained by Daigneault.

“We have two aqueduct systems. One goes from Lefaivre to Alfred, Alfred to Plantagenet and, finally, from Plantagenet to St-Isidore. We have an agreement with La Nation through which we supply St-Isidore with water. The other aqueduct system is for Wendover.”

According to Daigneault, Wendover’s high rates can be explained by the fact that the infrastructure is quite recent and still being paid by a small population.

“The population is growing, however. To support this growth, the town had to have a better system, which is why we built a water treatment plant.”

Other major capital projects for 2018

According to the budget, 2018 will bring $1.6 million in investments in the township’s roads, with over eight kilometers of road scheduled for paving. An additional $80,000 is going to updating storm sewers.

Wendover will be getting a new skating rink, representing a sum of $186,000. Daigneault also stated that the town would be getting a new path for pedestrians.

A new, paperless township hall

During the interview, Daigneault proudly stated that the township has been digitalizing documents for the past six years. The goal is to have a paperless environment.

“I believe we’re one of the first municipalities to do this,” said Daigneault.

Their approach is a holistic one, prioritizing the interconnectedness of information.

“Property information, construction, regulations, planning… It’s all going in the system. In terms of property information, we’re going back as far as possible. It was all done over two years and we’re up to date.”

Finally, the new town hall should start welcoming new tenants in March.

“Late March should see the official opening of the town hall, or as soon as the entrance goes from construction site to accessible entrance,” said Daigneault, adding that “it’ll be nice to finally have everyone under one roof.”

Construction costs for the new township hall total at $856,000 including taxes. The township financed the project through a loan by-law which will be reimbursed over a 20-year period, similar to a fixed-rate mortgage.