Committee passes 2017 Cornwall budget with 2.79% increase

A projection screen in the Cornwall council chambers shows a number of adjustments to the 2017 budget on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. Homeowners will be facing an average tax increase of 2.79% or an extra $62 a year. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The city’s 2017 budget has cleared the committee level.

Cornwall’s core budget committee passed the 2017 budget Thursday night.

It will cost a taxpayer an extra $62.61 on a home valued at $161,899.

The city will be collecting fewer taxes than in did in 2016 – the first time that has happened in at least seven years. ($68,102,948 compared to $68,339,275 in 2016)

But why are your taxes, in most cases, still going up? You can blame the Ontario government and the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation for that.

An adjustment in the value of commercial properties by MPAC has pushed the burden of taxes to local homeowners. In other words, the city will be collecting the same pie, so to speak, but a bigger slice will come from the residential class of properties.

Some of the adjustments made during a Thursday budget meeting, included removing $300,000 earmarked for soccer fields at the Benson Center.

Parks and Recreation Division Manager Jamie Fawthrop said the money would have been used to buy the land from Canadian National Railway (CN).

With the money out of the budget, Planning, Development and Recreation GM Mark Boileau said they could talk to CN and tell them of the city’s intention to buy a strip of land next to the Benson Center but wouldn’t be in a position to do so until 2018.

Coun. Carilyne Hebert also brought back news from the Raisin Region Conservation Authority about the city’s levy – it will be $18,102 less than 2016.

The budget passed in a final vote of 3-2. Councillors Carilyne Hebert and Bernadette Clement (budget committee vice chairman) voted against. Councillors Denis Carr (budget chairman), Andre Rivette and Mark MacDonald voted for the budget.

It will now go to council for final approval.