Budget season is starting in Hawkesbury.  At the October 15 council meeting, Treasurer Philippe Timbers outlined some of the financial factors the town is facing as it develops its 2020 budget.

The presentation was billed as a public consultation, but no citizens appeared before council with questions or comments.

According to Timbers, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), has forecast Hawkesbury’s total property assessment value for 2020 at $866,274,500, an increase of 0.63 per cent.

The treasurer listed $329,000 worth of cost implications for the 2020 budget.  Those include a $145,000 increase for long-term debt repayment, $116,000 in additional costs for municipal salaries and benefits, and an increase of $68,000 for Ontario Provincial Police costs.

The big unknown for the town is how much Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) it will receive in 2020.  OMPF is the main regular grant program the Ontario government provides to municipalities.  Funding was not reduced in 2019 but cuts are anticipated in 2020.

In 2019, Hawkesbury’s operating budget was more than $21.2 million.  Capital expenses were $6.4 million.  There was also a 4.28 per cent tax levy increase from 2018.

In Hawkesbury in 2019, 65 per cent of the tax revenue went to the town, 25 per cent went to the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, and 10 per cent went to school boards.

Councillor Yves Paquette asked if the 25 per cent that went to the counties applied in all of its member municipalities, or just in Hawkesbury.  Timbers said the figure applies to Hawkesbury only.  He said it is based on assessment values and varies by municipality.  Timbers said Hawkesbury represents nine to 10 per cent of the counties tax base.

Timbers will present balanced budget draft to council during sessions on November 18 and 19.  The budget will then be reviewed and presented to council for final review on December 9.