Cornwall passes budget with 2.9% increase

Cornwall City Council discusses the 2022 budget during a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. Council has passed the budget with a 2.9 per cent increase. (YourTV/YouTube via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – After two days of deliberations, Cornwall City Council has passed its budget with a 2.9 per cent increase.

That works out to roughly $44 more this year for each $100,000 of assessed value on a city home.

Cornwall will be collecting about 3 per cent more in taxes this year at just over $80.5 million compared to $77.5 million in 2021.

Council finished its budget yesterday (Jan. 26) on the second day of four scheduled days to tackle the financial blueprint.

Coun. Elaine MacDonald was first to close the discussion and accept the budget as is. “I think that it’s a fair budget and one that meets our obligations. We want to support all the services we currently provide and we want to enhance the quality of life in the city,” she said.

There were no items added or removed from the budget by council save for some adjustments made to projections for debt payments and interest income.

Coun. Carilyne Hebert supported MacDonald in accepting the budget saying staff had done all the cutting that could be done before council received it. Roughly $4 million in capital projects had been shelved. “We see that you already removed things from the budget so it gives me the impression you don’t know where else we can cut and you are the experts here and I trust your judgment completely,” Hebert said.

While saying he wasn’t doing a “victory lap,” Coun. Claude McIntosh says it’s an inflationary budget and other municipalities are dealing with increases far greater than 2.9 per cent. McIntosh challenged his counterparts to cut half a per cent ($400,000) without sacrificing jobs or services.

Coun. Justin Towndale, who voted against the budget, suggested using some reserve funds to “mitigate that hit” but that didn’t get support from fellow councillors.

While supporting it, Coun. Denis Carr is “is a little concerned” about the city amassing debt for various projects.

Coun. Eric Bergeron voted against the budget and says he would have rather seen staff come back with a budget that was frozen at the same level as last year. “For me, if that means some job losses, it that means some cuts in service, that’s not a very big – that’s something I’m willing to consider.”

Mayor Glen Grant says the city moving forward because council is making tough decisions.

How they voted:

For – Glen Grant, Carilyne Hebert, Claude McIntosh, Elaine MacDonald, Syd Gardiner, Maurice Dupelle, Dean Hollingsworth, Denis Carr, Todd Bennett.

Against – Eric Bergeron, Justin Towndale.