United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) council has approved the regional government’s 2021 budget.

Unanimous approval was given by all eight mayors when council met on November 25.  No mayors had comments or further questions about the budget.

“The tax increase represents $11.00 per average assessment value and four dollars per $100,000 of assessment value,” said UCPR Treasurer Valérie Parisien.

The average value of a house in Prescott and Russell is $272,538.

The budget process began in October and the mayors insisted from the beginning that any increase in the amount of taxes collected be limited at one per cent, and Parisien delivered on that request.  Mayors had requested one per cent because of pandemic-related financial pressures being felt by property owners and local businesses.

The final tax levy for 2021, including growth, totals $41,041,800.  According to Parisien, the counties will collect $475,000 more in taxes than in 2021 than in 2020.  The amount of tax revenue from growth is $525,000.

The total value of the 2021 spending estimates is $140,948,100.  Out of that amount, $39,676,200 or 83 per cent will go to operations and $5,248,400 or 11 per cent will be for capital projects.  The remaining $3,117,200 or six per cent will go to reserve funds.

The largest sources of UCPR revenue in 2021 are projected to be requisition financing, which includes taxation at 34 per cent, provincial grants at 32 per cent, and 12 per cent will come from reserves.  The remaining 17 per cent is listed as coming from reimbursement from municipalities, new debt, and other revenue.

Major capital projects the UCPR is planning to carry out in 2021 include the construction of the new Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury, the UCPR share of Eastern Ontario Regional Network for reliable mobile phone service, and road projects.