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Hastings Highlands approves 6.94% tax levy increase at draft budget 3rd reading: down 2% from 2nd reading

Hastings Highlands council has voted in favour of a 6.94% tax levy increase.  

The vote happened at the 3rd reading of Draft Budget at this Wednesday Mornings council meeting.  The second reading had proposed a 8.95% increase, but then staff had been directed to see if they could find a way to bring it down.

The third draft budget had proposed two options for council to vote on: a 7.74% or 6.94% tax levy increase.  

At the meeting, treasurer Tanya Dickinson emphasized the importance of having the budget passed that day.  

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When it came time to vote, neither the 6.95 percent tax levy increase or the 7.74 % increase had enough votes to pass. Two voting members then changed their votes in order to pass the 6.95% tax levy increase.  

Mayor Tony Fitzgerald spoke about some of the factors affecting the budget and making what he called tough decisions.  

“Since 2018, inflation has risen by 22%” Said Mayor Fitzgerald. “And Hastings Highlands taxes, including our proposed tax rate this year,  will only bring it to 19%. Just as an example”  

Fitzgerald continued,    

“in 2021 inflation was 3.4%, but we only raised the tax rate 0.95%. In 2022 inflation was 6.8% and we only raised the tax rate 1.57%. So those two years alone, inflation is over 10% and we only raised our property tax just over 2.5%.  

“That’s why we’re in the shape we’re in today” Said Fitzgerald, “That’s what happens when you put things off and you kick the can down the road” 

The mayor noted that, as of last year, the Hastings Highlands tax increase was the 5th lowest of 14 municipalities in Hastings County, with nine of them being higher.  

“Even with the increase we’re proposing today, if no other municipalities increased their taxes, we would still be the 7th lowest of 14 municipalities (in Hastings County). So we are more than competitive with our neighbors” 

The mayor also directed the public to look at slides 126 and 127, the line graph of the budget presentation, for a better understanding. 

Councillor Matheson and Deputy Mayor Tammy Davis both added their concern for seniors and those with a low income in the area, pointing out that it would be good to get the word out that there were resources available to help people struggling in the municipality. 



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