By Lindsey Stuckless
The Haldimand Press
HALDIMAND—With the operating budget approved on April 2, 2019, Haldimand County will have a municipal levy increase of 5.91% in 2019, the highest increase in five years.
The actual 2019 tax impact to Haldimand residents is 2.23%, which means the average residential home tax bill will increase by $70.69 a year, or $5.88 a month.
Mayor Ken Hewitt said that reporting on the average home is not always helpful for residents, because many home values are much more than the $266,860 reported average.
“I think it’s time to put this example to bed. It might be a good estimate, but it doesn’t reflect that the majority of homes will see a bigger increase,” said Hewitt.
Staff said that within Haldimand there are over 20,000 residential homes, some have values significantly less than the stated average and, of course, some with significantly higher value.
In 2015 the tax impact was higher at 2.79%, although the actual levy increase was only 4.33%.
The higher municipal levy increase this year is offset by the highest assessment growth in five years. The 2019 growth assessment was assessed at 2.67% of the previous year’s levy ($1.7 million), a jump from 2.29% in 2018 and only 0.74% in 2015. Residential growth has seen a significant increase in the past two years with the addition of the Avalon community in Caledonia and, to a lesser extent, development in Hagersville as well.
The biggest increase in the municipal levy is the acceleration of the granular road conversion program that was approved during the tax-supported capital budget in March. The approved change will see all country roads converted from gravel by 2025 instead of 2028.
Ward 5 Councillor Bernie Corbett voiced his continued support for the acceleration: “I want to say thank you again to you, Mayor Hewitt for putting forth the idea to speed up this change. It is going to make a big difference for so many.”
An increase in support to recreation services and the maintenance of trails, parks, playing fields, and cemeteries, as well as an increase in library hours across the county, are also contributing factors to the higher municipal levy.
“We are ensuring our commitment to have more services available at community hubs,” said Haldimand CAO Don Boyle on extending the library hours. “We will assess the need as time goes on to see if the hours are needed at all locations.”
The operating budget meetings went quickly, which Hewitt said was a reflection of the work done by County staff.
“The work that goes into this budget document makes it so much simpler for us to understand and walk through,” said Hewitt.
Haldimand County residents can expect their 2019 property tax bill in late July.