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Township tax increase proposed at 2.4%

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today


With a proposed 2.4% draft budget increase, a Hamilton Township homeowner with an assessment of between $150,000 and $200,000 would see about a $13 to $17 township tax increase this year.

County and education taxes would be on top of this.

This week's special Hamilton Township budget council session to review, change or pass the document has been postponed. A new date is yet to be set, acting treasurer Barb Goodwin says.

Some possible changes to the budget include reducing the amount of money taken from the police reserve account used to offset annual taxes to manage the yearly increasing five-year OPP budget which was ratified last year after considerable negotiation. There will also be discussion about road works.

As it stands now, the proposed operating budget is only about $318,000 more than the 2012 figure, for a total of $5.4 million.

Of that amount, about 45% of the combined operating and capital budgets is for salaries and benefits (a total of $3.152 million) which includes three proposed new positions and one part-time position, according to information provided by Goodwin.

The new fire chief's position, still to be adopted and filled, would be about $45,000 for the balance of the year. There would be two new clerical positions (in the area of $34,000 with benefits, as well), if the budget is adopted as proposed, and with the succession planning and student reserves, a chief building official, in-training position, would add only about $5,000 to this year's budget, Goodwin said in an interview.

This is to provide training prior to the departure of longtime chief building official Scott Gibb, who will retire in 2014, she said.

Salary and wages are up about 7% in the 2013 budget compared to last year, if the budget is adopted without change, and with the additional three full-time positions and a temporary, part-time position to update health-and-safety-related documentation.

While the overall proposed operating budget is up 6.4% this has been reduced by a downsized proposed capital budget which, at about $1.5 million, is 9.6% lower than the year before.

Roads projects are still up for discussion at this time (the proposed operating budget for this department is about $2-million, the single largest department budget, year-over-year) and its proposed capital budget is about $1.1-million.

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