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Hastings Highlands council approves 2020 operating budget

Hastings Highlands council approved the 2020 operating budget last week with no changes being made to what was presented.

The now-approved budget will see the municipality’s total expenses jump up nearly $500,000 for 2020 to $10,198,332.

The tax levy will increase 1.53-percent this year and the municipal tax rate will go up by 1.50-percent. Treasurer and CAO David Stewart explained to the newsroom in February that the tax rate increase was what council targetted for this year’s operating budget.

Stewart also said when the draft of the budget was presented that council is beginning to fund components of its strategic plan. “Council is looking at their strategic plan and they will be costing the plan through their upcoming budgets,” he explained.

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The biggest jump for expenses for environmental services, which will see over $300,000 added to their budget this year. $245,200 of that is because of an increase for contracted services. Stewart said that the new Waste-Free Ontario Act is “restricting our ability to make decisions due to many uncertainties.”

Just under $400,000 has also been set aside this year to help with the municipality’s debt payments.

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