Township of Lake of Bays 2023 Budget
The 2023 Budget for the Township of Lake of Bays has been set by Council. The total tax levy is $6,378,496 supported by a 6% increase in the tax levy rate and a transfer of $847,067 from reserves. The financial impact on a property assessed at $500,000 is an additional $54.80 in Township tax payable per year.
This compares with the Town of Huntsville's final levy increase of 5.29%. As the Huntsville budget is larger, that results in a levy increase of $105 per $500,000 of assessment.
In both cases, there are two other levies. The District of Muskoka tax rate will increase by 4.15% or $61.75 per $500,000 of assessment. The provincial education levy has remained unchanged.
Note that the Huntsville levy is augmented by an additional 1.26% for the local share of the funding of the budget reserve for the planned new hospital. The Township of Lake of Bays is still considering the amount of its additional hospital funding levy or when it will start to apply.
As always, the annual budget deliberations involved balancing priorities, including requests for improvements and the rising costs of maintenance of services, roads, and infrastructure, with the appropriate tax increase and good financial management.
During the deliberations of the Council of the Township of Lake of Bays, LOBA submitted a written deputation urging that priority be given to protecting the environment and providing good municipal services within a fiscally responsible budget. LOBA made it clear that its members value Township programs and facilities, and also urged that the Township consider what savings opportunities exist through management of capital spending and improved facilities management. There was support expressed for expenditures needed to recruit and retain priority staff, such as the recently hired Director of Planning. Although it is a comparatively small expenditure, LOBA also supported the addition of a boat for use by the Building/By Law Enforcement Department, as it is past time for the Township to have “ eyes from the lake” when upholding waterfront standards.
The Township budget process was improved over previous years. The proposed budget was better laid out and explained. Two council meetings were fully dedicated to debating the budget. There does continue to be room for more clarity about the costing of initiatives and the use of reserves. See the minutes of all the Council deliberations on the Township website here.
You will find links below to LOBA’s letter to Council in response to the initially proposed draft budget, which was based on a 9.5% tax rate increase, and the Township’s response after completing deliberations. LOBA expresses its appreciation for the leadership of Council and staff in arriving at a reasonable 2023 budget.