Collingwood targets tax rate increase below one per cent

Collingwood councillors are aiming to keep the 2022 tax rate increase below one per cent.

According to an initial outline of the municipality’s 2022 budget, the town’s treasurer, Monica Quinlan, told council’s strategic initiatives committee that staff are proposing to collect about $1 million more in taxes in 2022, which would equal an increase in operational spending of about 2.5 per cent over the $35.1 million collected in 2021.

It would equate to an increase in the rate applied to the MPAC-assessed value of a property by just under one per cent.

Given the current circumstances, the committee determined that keeping the tax rate increase below one per cent was appropriate — though Mayor Brian Saunderson threw out a caution.

“That can change dramatically based on what we think we need and where we are right now,” he said, noting inflation rates, depending on the sector of the economy, are “extremely volatile.”

In her report, Quinlan noted the town’s assessment base has grown by about 1.75 per cent, year-over-year.

On the cost side, the consumer price index has increased by 3.5 per cent, driven largely by energy costs and construction.

Quinlan said there are a number of council resolutions approved in 2021 that need to be incorporated into the budget, along with a market review of the salary grid and an assessment of the pandemic and “how that might impact operations over the next year.”

A public survey on the budget has been launched on the town’s online engagement portal, , and will be open until mid- to late September.

The budget will be back for more discussion at the Oct. 4 strategic initiatives meeting. Staff are expected to present any major changes and projects at that time.

Over the next three months, council and staff are expected to work through three drafts, with formal approval of the budget not expected until December.