Essex County Council Approves 2019 Budget
Wednesday January 16th, 2019
Posted at 8:39pm
Essex County Council approved the 2019 budget Wednesday night with a 1.43% tax increase.
“This budget lays the foundation for future growth and development, positioning the County as an attractive place for businesses to invest and for families to live,” said Warden Gary McNamara. “It is a financially sustainable plan that builds on the County’s excellent credit rating and promotes quality of life issues that matter to residents, like roads, active living and health care.”
The budget supports the new hospital, promotes continued improvements to roads and an expanding trail network, and provides a much-needed boost to the region’s affordable housing stock.
It also places an emphasis on improved communications, both internal and external, and enhanced training to promote health and safety in the workplace along with the recruitment and retention of professional staff.
“The County has a great story to tell and we need to continue engaging with residents while fostering a dynamic workplace culture focused on continuous improvement and the delivery of top-notch services,” said Essex County CAO Robert Maisonville.
McNamara said he was proud the County was taking steps to shore up its stock of affordable housing, which is aging and in need of repairs. More than $1 million is being directed toward affordable housing improvements in 2019 as part of a five-year plan to address this pressing regional need.
“We have an obligation as a caring, compassionate community to provide support to those who need it,” said McNamara. “The affordable housing crunch is a province-wide problem but it is one the County is committed to addressing.”
The tax increase is less than the annual rate of inflation and works out to an increase of $13.63 on a home assessed at $200,000. The County’s tax rate is below average when compared to peer municipalities.
Roads: A 1.5 per cent or $1.4 million boost to the Capacity Expansion program budget. More than $30 million in road construction and rehabilitation projects are planned for 2019.
CWATS: A $100,000 increase in base funding for the County Wide Active Transportation System. Eight paved shoulder projects totaling 12.1 KM and $2.2 million are planned for 2019.
Hospital: A $1.2 million boost in mega-hospital funding, bringing the 2019 total to $3.89 million.
Affordable Housing: A $1.05 million commitment as part of a 5-year capital program to repair and maintain aging housing stock
Essex-Windsor EMS: Funding to introduce electronic tracking technology to auto locate equipment in emergency vehicles.