The 2022 budget for the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) is now official. Without discussion or debate, UCPR mayors approved the final draft and by-law for the 2022 operating and capital estimates on November 24.
Revenues and expenses are projected to each be $154,012,600 in 2022, which is $2,451,100 more than the 2021 amount of $145,844,700. Operations, which includes salaries, account for 77 per cent, or $39,771,700 of the budget expenses; 16 per cent, or $8,413,400 of the budget is for capital expenses; and six per cent, or $3,236,000, will go to reserve and reserve funds.
In 2022, $52,221,100, or 34 per cent, of the UCPR budget is projected to come from revenue collected from its eight municipalities through property taxes. The amount of tax revenue collected by the UCPR in its 2021 budget was $49,670,000, which was also 34 per cent of the total revenue for 2021. Provincial and federal grants will be the second-greatest source of revenue to the UCPR in 2022 with 30 per cent, or $45,893,000, coming from the Ontario government and four per cent, or $6,859,600, to come from the federal government. New debt is estimated to be the third-largest source of UCPR revenue in 2022 at 16 per cent, or $24,039,200.
The 2022 budget, as adopted, respects a directive by council on October 13 to keep the increase of tax-revenue funding at three per cent. Tax revenue to the UCPR based on increased property values due to growth and development are projected to bring $981,700 of the tax revenue to the UCPR in 2022. No increased revenue based on growth had been projected for 2021.
According to UCPR Treasurer Valérie Parisien, the three per cent increase represents $12 per $100,000 of Current Value Assessment (CVA) value and $34 per average CVA value.
Due to the varying land area, population, and level of development activities across the eight UCPR municipalities, the amount of taxation revenue each municipality is projected to contribute to the regional level of government in 2022 also varies. The City of Clarence-Rockland is to provide the largest amount at 27.12 per cent, followed by Russell Township at 22.45 per cent, and La Nation at 14.62 per cent. Champlain’s share of the 2022 UCPR levy is 9.31 per cent and the share for Hawkesbury is 8.69 per cent.
There are very few new capital projects of significance planned by the UCPR in 2022. Parisien said the only new road projects are ones the UCPR is undertaking in partnership with neighbouring jurisdictions on boundary roads. Instead, the UCPR is concentrating on the continued construction of the new Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury. Construction on the new 224-bed, $90 million facility began in March 2021 and is projected to be completed by the end of 2023.
“That’s going to be our main focus for the next year,” Parisien said.
The UCPR also continues to plan for the establishment of a regional food hub production facility during the year ahead.