October 25, 2017 – Kawartha Conservation’s Board of Directors has approved a guideline for the 2018 operating budget, with further budget discussions slated for November 29.
The approved budget guideline includes a 4.2 per cent municipal operating levy increase for 2018 based on preliminary budget estimates and priorities. The 4.2 per cent presents an increase of $61,550 over last year.
The total 2018 budget has been projected at $3,798,800; of that, $1,543,100 would come from municipal partners.
“Our staff have worked diligently during the last several months to bring forward a budget that is responsible to our municipal partners while also ensuring we are able to meet our strategic priorities and the needs of our watershed throughout 2018,” said Kawartha Conservation CAO Mark Majchrowski.
There were a number of financial pressures which factored into the increase, including new premium rates for WSIB and other changes through the Changing Workplaces provincial legislation.
“We are continuing to look at our revenue streams to increase our offsets to municipal tax support, while also recognizing our infrastructure, programming and staffing challenges” said Mr. Majchrowski.
To better identify future needs and pressures, Kawartha Conservation staff projected an early five-year budget through 2022. If fully implemented, without additional identified revenue sources, the overall municipal levy supported budget could increase from $1,543,100 in 2018 to $1,898,500 in 2022 – an increase of about $350,000 over the five years.
“To provide a clearer picture of our ongoing and future needs, staff have developed our draft five-year budget,” explained Mr. Majchrowski. “These are very early projections and do not include possible financial offsets from increased revenues, grants and additional funding opportunities which would bring the municipal tax support required down substantially.”
Kawartha Conservation Board Chair Ted Smith said the proposed 2018 budget and 2018-2022 projected five-year budget is a realistic approach to addressing the needs of Kawartha Conservation.
“It is a realistic budget,” said Mr. Smith. “We have some very real challenges at Kawartha Conservation and we either need to look at new revenue streams, such as increasing fees, relying on municipal partners for more tax support or cutting services and programs, which would have a very negative impact on operations at Kawartha Conservation and across our watershed.
“I think staff have done a good job to bring forward a budget that meets the growing challenges of Kawartha Conservation and the member municipalities,” Mr. Smith added.
Kawartha Conservation Board Vice-Chair Peter Raymond said the budget is a responsible and measured approach to the challenges and realities of both Kawartha Conservation and the partner municipalities.
“This budget represents a delicate balance between the fiscal challenges of our municipal partners while meeting the needs and responsibilities of our watershed, community partners, residents and businesses,” said Mr. Raymond.
The Board-approved budget guideline will come back to the Kawartha Conservation Board of Directors at their next meeting on November 29 for further discussion. Once approved the budget will be submitted to member municipalities for inclusion in their 2018 budget deliberations.