The Town of Hawkesbury’s 2023 budget will not be approved by council until February and inflation is going to be a factor in developing the yearly fiscal plan.

At a council meeting on December 8, 2022, Treasurer Philippe Timbers presented the anticipated timeline for the development of the budget and its eventual approval. Council will receive the first draft on January 12. On January 18, a special council meeting will be held where councillors will review the proposed operations budget with the head of each department. Another special council meeting will take place on January 19 to review the proposed 2023 capital budget.

At the December 8 meeting, Councillor Antonios Tsourounakis challenged the various municipal departments to find savings.

“Sometimes you need a fresh look at certain things. If they look close enough, I think they can find a few percentages on savings. Maybe we could hold the line on taxes or even reduce them,” Tsourounakis said.

“I’ll go with your challenge and up it!” responded Councillor Jeanne Charlebois.

 “Propose a number,” said Tsourounakis.

Rather than give a specific number for a preferred increase in spending or the municipal tax levy, Charlebois said she has seen years of zero, and other years of two per cent levy increases. Charlebois said the current situation, with increasing costs due to inflation, is going to be a big challenge for the budget.

“We’ve got the cost of living that’s killing everybody. It’s killing businesses. It’s hurting the working poor,” said Charlebois.

Mayor Robert Lefebvre said he likes the idea of carefully evaluating everything during the process of developing the budget.

“Inflation is touching everything,” Lefebvre remarked.