The 2023 United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) budget is set to include a 3.53 per cent increase in the taxation levy.

UCPR Treasurer Valérie Parisien presented the final version of the 2023 budget to UCPR council on Wednesday, December 14. In 2022, the UCPR collected $52,551,000 in taxes. In 2023, it will collect $53,575,700.

A levy increase of one per cent equals an additional $520,000. UCPR tax revenue is collected by the eight member municipalities and forwarded to the regional government.

Parisien said the final version of the budget includes an additional $10,000 for each municipality, totaling $80,000. That increase was decided by council on December 7, when the mayors decided to allocate more funding for community projects that each municipality will be able to decide upon and request financial support from the UCPR. Parisien added new grant funding has also become available for certain public works projects.

“We’ve changed a few capital projects in that regard,” she said.

The UCPR is not yet allowed to publicly announce the source or dollar amounts of the additional funding, but the draft budget document indicates it is for road work on county roads 10, 15, 17, and 24.

Hawkesbury Mayor Robert Lefebvre moved to give Parisien the directive to prepare the final budget documents. The motion was seconded by Casselman Mayor Geneviève Lajoie and carried.

Warden Normand Riopel is pleased with how the budget process has gone, considering the challenging current economic conditions.

“I think it’s very fair,” he said.

Riopel called the 3.53 per cent levy increase “reasonable,” and acknowledged it is a challenge to ensure the construction and maintenance of public works infrastructure is challenging, but he believes the most important projects were prioritized.

Riopel also highlighted that the 2023 UCPR budget includes more than $2 million in new revenue due to growth of the property tax base due to development and increased property values across the counties.

The 2023 UCPR budget will be approved by council when the eight mayors meet on January 11.